In this post I will be recapping the Women’s Ice Hockey tournament from the XXIV Olympic Winter Games. The format for this tournament was a ten team group stage followed by an elimination stage. Only the bottom two teams from Group B would be eliminated. The other eight teams would make it to the Quarterfinals. Group A consisted of Canada, Finland, ROC (Russia), Switzerland, and the United States. In Group B was China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Japan and Sweden.
Heading into the tournament the United States and Canada were favored to win. No other team had been able to win gold in the Olympics. The United States and Canada are considered elite teams. No one else has been able to match their skill. Most other teams know coming into the Olympics that they are just there to compete for bronze. No other country has been able to match the United States and Canada. All eyes were on them heading into the tournament. The United States were defending gold medalists. They were number one in the power rankings. Canada was number two in the power rankings. Finland was number three. All the way at the bottom was China. Last in the power rankings, nothing was expected from China. China’s 2021 IIHF ranking was 20th out of 42. They wouldn’t be in this tournament if they weren’t hosting it.
The tournament started off with a game between the Czech Republic and China. The big story on the first night of play was that Canada defeated Switzerland 12-1. The United States beat Finland in their opening match. China surprised everyone by defeating Denmark. Canada rolled through Finland 11-1. The United States got back to back shutouts after defeating ROC (Russia) 5-0 and Switzerland 8-0. The United States and Canada played for their last games of the group stage. Canada won that tightly contested game 4-2. The last group stage game was between Finland and ROC (Russia). Finland defeated ROC (Russia) 5-0. That was kind of a big upset. There was a two day break before the tournament resumed with the Quarterfinals.
Canada won Group A. They went 4-0-0 in the group stage. The United States came in 2nd in Group A with a record of 3-1-0. Finland came in 3rd in Group A. They had a record of 1-3-0. ROC (Russia) came in 4th with a record of 1-3-0. Switzerland came in last with a record of 1-3-0.
Japan won Group B. Japan had a record of 3-0-1. Japans only loss came to China in the shootout. The Czech Republic came in 2nd with a record of 2-1-1. Sweden came in 3rd with a record of 2-2-0. They defeated Denmark in the final game of the group stage to reach the elimination stage. China came in 4th with a record of 2-2-0. Denmark came in last in Group B with a record of 1-3-0. Denmark and China were eliminated in the group stage.
Canada, Finland, ROC (Russia), Switzerland, and the United States automatically qualified for the Quarterfinals regardless of record. Czech Republic, Japan, and Sweden rounded out the teams that made it to the elimination stage.
In the Quarter finals, Canada defeated Sweden 11-0. That was Canadas only shutout of the tournament. Switzerland upset ROC (Russia) with a score of 4-2. The United States defeated the Czech Republic 4-1. Finland defeated Japan 7-1. Sweden, ROC (Russia), Czech Republic, and Japan were eliminated in the Quarterfinals.
All four of the teams in the Semifinals were from Group A. All of them would have a chance to win a medal. Canada beat Switzerland again. They won that game 10-3. The United States defeated Finland 4-1. Canada and the United States would play in the gold medal game. Finland and Switzerland would play in the bronze medal game.
In the bronze medal game, Finland would take on Switzerland. Switzerland defeated Finland 3-2 in the group stage. Finland had won bronze three time and had been in the bronze medal game four times. Switzerland won bronze they only other time they appeared in the bronze medal game back in 2014. Finland scored the only goal in the first period. Finland score three more goals in the third. The Final score was 4-0 Finland. Finland shutout Switzerland. Finland won the bronze medal.
Canada and the United States once again played in the gold medal game. This was what everyone was expecting. It was a chance for the United States to defend their gold medal. It was a chance for them to also get revenge from their loss to Canada in the group stage. For Canada it was a chance for them to reclaim their former glory. It was a chance to get revenge after losing in the gold medal game in the 2018 Olympics.
Canada went up 2-0 after the first period. The score was 3-1 Canada after the second period. The final score was 3-2. It was a close game. It was definitely a battle from both teams. Canada won gold. The United States won silver. It was the most watched hockey broadcast since 2019.
Canada won gold. The United States won silver. Finland won bronze. It was a really good tournament. There was some great displays of talent. There was close games. There was blowouts. There was good rivalry games. There was some surprises from teams. There was a lot of drama. Especially in the game between Canada and ROC (Russia) that was delayed for over an hour. It was definitely entertaining. It is the most entertaining Women’s sporting event in the world. I wish USA would have won but I am ok with silver. I can’t wait for the next tournament. I wish Women’s pro ice hockey was bigger, and more available. Maybe one day it will be.