2022 OLYMPIC WOMEN’S HOCKEY: GROUP A PRELIMINARY ROUND
CANADA (3-0-0-0) vs USA (3-0-0-0)
WUKESONG SPORTS CENTER, BEIJING, CHINA
8:10 PM PST
It’s become must-see tv, and while I will be watching this one on pvr in the morning, I can assure you there’s going to be a lot of Canadians staying up til the wee hours to watch this one. There’s really no other rivalry like it. Two incredible, evenly matched teams that bring their best every time they meet.
The Americans have been able to cruise through Group A, and while they haven’t really shown any impact that the loss of Brianna Decker, this is the game where we could see just how much they miss her.
The Canadians are coming off a 6-1 win over the R.O.C. that was memorable for what happened before the game. Team Canada refused to start play until the R.O.C. submitted their COVID test results, delaying the game for well over an hour. When they finally dropped the puck, both teams were wearing masks on the ice, which was a pretty startling scene. It didn’t phase Canada, as they rolled to another victory and have now scored 29 goals in their three preliminary games. The USA have scored 18, and have allowed just 2 goals. The Canadian goalkeepers have let in three so far.
This game will likely be like so many of the contests they’ve had over the years: High energy, high emotion, physical and of course, insanely close. Overtime is likely, so plan accordingly. Predicting that is simple, but trying to figure out who they’ll meet in the next round? That’s a little tougher.
The winner of Group A will meet the third place team from Group B. China currently sits in third, but they’ve already played all four preliminary games. If Denmark beats Sweden in regulation, and the Czechs lose to Japan, the Czechs will fall to that third spot. The winner of that game gets to play the winner of the game between the fourth and fifth place teams in Group A, Switzerland and Finland. The loser of tonight’s game will have to play the second place team from Group B, but then have to face the winner between Group A’s third place team and the winner of Group B, so a tougher road to try and get to that gold medal final.