Well, the Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey Team hit the ice last night to battle their archrivals, the United States, for the gold medal.
Simply put, these are two teams that do not like each other. The old saying “familiarity breeds contempt” may as well have been coined for this rivalry.
Since women’s hockey became an Olympic sport, the Americans claimed gold once (in 1998, at Canada’s expense), while Canada brought home the gold from the last four Winter Games (beating the U.S. in 2002, 2010, and 2014, and beating Sweden in 2006).
Last night, in a fast-paced game, that got nasty at times, it looked like Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin’s goal, to put her team up 2-1, would stand up, potentially making her a three-time hero, after she potted the gold medal-winning goals in both Vancouver and Sochi.
However, that wasn’t quite the case. A game can shift on a dime, and after Canada missed on a 2-on-1, late in the 3rd period, Canada got caught on a brutal line change, and BOOM… just like that, Monique Lamoureux-Morando’s breakaway tied things up and sent the game to overtime. After 20 minutes of four-on-four settled nothing, Canada and the U.S. went to a shootout, for the first time, to decide the gold medal.
In the end, American Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson deked Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados out of her pads, to give the U.S. the lead, and rookie netminder Maddie Rooney stoned Canada’s Meghan Agosta to deliver the U.S. its first gold in women’s hockey since the inaugural tournament, in 1998, in Nagano. It also happened to be 38 years to the day, since the “Miracle on Ice,” when the American men claimed hockey gold in Lake Placid.
And just like that, all across Canada, millions of hearts shattered. You could see on the faces of our players, that they were devastated to come up short.
And certainly, those who don’t like seeing a shootout decide the gold medal match, will have much to grumble about. But, the rules are the rules, and full marks to the Americans, who played a whale of a game and got the job done. They are deserving champions.
All in all, it was a great game, and our women’s team earned a hard-fought silver medal. We should be nothing but proud – as always, they represented us with heart, determination and class.
And, as much as last night’s loss will sting, you know Team Canada will come back strong, with a chip on their shoulders, wanting to prove once again, that Hockey is Canada.
If I may paraphrase Arnold Schwarzennegger, in his most famous role…