Ahead Brianna Decker was unable to comprise her enthusiasm in being chosen to symbolize the US in hockey for a 3rd Olympics. She then bluntly declared the staff’s one and solely goal heading to the Beijing Video games subsequent month.
“Our enterprise is not completed till we come again with a gold medal,” Decker stated.
Although she did not must say it, Canada — who else? — is standing of their manner.
“I do not know if it is unfinished enterprise, we have got enterprise,” Canada coach Troy Ryan stated when knowledgeable of Decker’s feedback. “We’re going there as enterprise as regular and we’re making an attempt to win the gold.”
Certainly one of sports activities’ fiercest rivalries is ready to renew when the 10-nation match opens on Feb. 3.
America is the defending Olympic champion after beating Canada in a nail-biting 3-2 shootout win in South Korea in 2018 to finish Canada’s run of 4 Olympic titles. And but, Canada is the reigning world champion after punching again with a 3-2 time beyond regulation win in August to finish USA’s run of 5 consecutive titles.
“Yeah, it has been some time since we have misplaced to them,” Decker stated. “It is actually a tragic factor, however you understand, typically you have to lose to get somewhat bit extra out of your staff and out of your self.”
“To be trustworthy,” countered Canada’s captain Marie-Philip Poulin, “it will be enjoyable.”
It was no shock to anybody when the pushing, shoving and cross-checking resumed virtually instantly at Allentown, Pennsylvania, in October of their first assembly after the world championships.
“Yeah, and you understand what one of the best half is? We have now them eight extra instances,” American ahead Kendall Coyne Schofield stated with amusing, referring to what was presupposed to be a nine-game Rivalry Sequence. It was reduce to 6 video games after the Canadians skilled a COVID-19 breakout.
Canada completed the shortened sequence going 4-1-1 towards the Individuals, with 4 video games determined by one objective, and three in time beyond regulation.
Encouraging because the outcomes had been, they meant little to Ryan, who famous: “When you take a look at the historical past of those occasions and the outcomes on the Olympics, there isn’t any optimistic correlation usually.”
At first look, Canada seems to have the benefit with pace and expertise, taking part in an up-tempo, transition assault Ryan launched upon taking on in August 2019. His system locations an emphasis on play-making defenders turning up ice and discovering open gamers within the impartial zone to arrange odd-man breaks.
The U.S. depends extra on a puck-control offensive fashion to arrange in-close possibilities from Hilary Knight and Alex Carpenter, who returns after being left off the 2018 roster.
Barring what can be thought-about a serious upset, the remainder of the sector continues taking part in catchup on the ladies’s stage, with Finland, Switzerland, Russia and doubtlessly the up-and-coming Czech Republic vying for bronze.
The Finns beat Switzerland to win bronze on the world championships. On the 2019 world championships on residence soil, Finland upset Canada within the semifinals and got here a disallowed objective in time beyond regulation away from beating the Individuals earlier than settling for the silver.
“If we play 10 video games in a row, we’re not going to be the profitable candidate in all of them,” Finland GM Tuula Puputti stated. “However then we confirmed two years in the past, when the appropriate recreation is available in the appropriate second it might probably occur. So I feel it was actually a confidence booster.”
DECADES OF DOMINANCE
The U.S. and Canada have met within the ultimate of 19 of 20 world championships, with Canada profitable 11 titles to America’s eight. Twelve gold-medal video games have been determined by one objective, with 9 in time beyond regulation or shootouts.
The 2 nations have met within the ultimate of 5 of six Olympic tournaments, except for the 2006 Torino Video games, when Canada defeated Sweden, and the U.S. received bronze.
Denmark and the Czech Republic will make their first Winter Video games’ appearances after profitable qualifying tournaments in November. The Czechs, who went 3-0, are thought-about sturdy contenders with a youth-laden roster that features six gamers at the moment at U.S. faculties.
Sweden is making its sixth Olympic look. It defeated France 1-0 to clinch its pool after going through relegation following a ninth-place end on the 2019 world championships.
An ankle damage that sidelined Swiss star ahead Alina Muller on the world championships in August might be the increase the staff wanted. The Swiss rallied for a 3-2 time beyond regulation win over Russia within the quarterfinal earlier than a 4-0 loss to Canada within the semis.
Swiss coach Colin Muller (no relation) was inspired by how his gamers discovered find out how to compete with out Muller.
Alina Muller, who was 15 on the 2014 Sochi Video games grew to become the youngest ladies’s hockey participant to win a medal, is absolutely healed and desirous to make her third Olympic look. She is finishing her senior yr at Northeastern.
Finland goalie Noora Raty might be a late addition after rejoining the staff for 2 wins towards the Czech Republic in December. Raty had been sidelined by a again damage in February. The 32-year-old has represented Finland at 4 Winter Video games and holds the Olympic report amongst goalies with 20 video games performed. The Finns are set to announce their roster on Jan. 20.