On Feb. 22, the United States Women’s Hockey team squared off against their long-time rival, Canada, to compete for the Olympic gold medal. The US Hockey team had not won a gold Olympic medal in hockey since the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan, which was the first ever gold medal awarded in women’s hockey. All of the following years of the winter Olympics, the US was beat out in the final round by Canada in competition for gold. That is, up until the 2018 games, where the United States beat out Canada during the shootouts with a result of 3-2.
In 1998, the Olympic committee introduced ice hockey for women, with Canada quickly becoming a fan favorite after winning the past four World Championships. Throughout the entire games, both Canada and United States excelled in their matches, clearly being seen as the threats to many countries. However, when it came down to the battle for the gold medal, Canada was expected by many to defeat the Americans to win. However, the United States proved otherwise, beating Canada 3-1.
At the next Winter Olympic games in 2002, Canada sought revenge against the United States to claim the gold medal as their own. With the games being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, the United States could not let Canada defeat them in their home country. Unfortunately, the United States faced an upset against Canada, losing 2-3 after both teams being undefeated throughout the entirety of the games. In attempt to take down Canada at the next game in 2006, the United States fell short, losing in the semi-finals against Sweden. This was the first and only time that the United States did not face off against Canada in any championship. The United States did take home the bronze medal, however, and Canada defeated Sweden 4-1, taking the gold medal home with them. 2010 was USA’s opportunity to go up against Canada again to take them down, both going into to the gold match, undefeated throughout the Olympic tourney. However, the United States fell to Canada yet again without scoring a point in the 0-2 game.
In the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the United States squared off against Canada early in the preliminary rounds, due to the new way the ice hockey rounds were formatted. The United States did lose 2-3 early on in the games against Canada, but they had their second chance, with both teams making it to the final round again. In this match, the United States dominated the rink with a score of 2-0 going into the third and final period. With the final minutes and seconds ticking down, the United States could see the gold medal right in front of their very eyes. Then, the heartbreak of the Americans. As the match was coming to a close, Canada managed to sneak in two goals to tie the game and send it into overtime. It came down to Canada’s power play (when the opposing team is down one player on the rink due to a penalty) for them to score the third and final point, scoring the gold for four years in a row.
After four straight losses, the United States were determined as ever to take down the reigning gold medalists for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Similar to the 2014 Games, the United States met up against their rivals early on in the preliminary rounds, and lost again 1-2. However, that would not be the end for the United States with them having another second chance in the gold match. Early on into the match, USA scored the first goal having 1-0 at the end of the first period. Then Canada came back, scoring 2 more goals to take the lead. The match seemed to go back and forth, with both teams playing very well. Then, in the same fashion of Canada in the 2014 gold match, USA scored another goal to tie the match as the final minutes waned down in the third period. The United States were then presented with a power play, a chance to take the gold as their own. But they didn’t. The United States failed at their attempt to seal the deal and the game was sent into overtime. The rivals squared off into a nail-biting and tense overtime. Alas, nobody scored and the game was sent into a shootout, a time where each team would have fives chance to have one player to go up against the goalie. Each team went back and forth between goal and no goal. After the five players have made the attempt, the match was still tied with each team having two players score. Then came the extra sixth attempt. The United States went first. Score! It all came to this. To keep the game going and reclaim their gold medal, Canada just had to score on the twenty-year old goalie. But that did not happen. The United States had won the shootouts 3-2. After 20 years since the first Women’s Winter Olympic ice hockey match, the United States defeated their long-time rivals and seized an Olympic gold medal.
You can watch the breathtaking shootouts by clicking the link below:
Noah Cayangyang, Staff Writer
Sophomore Noah Cayangyang is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. He plays on the soccer and track teams at Ledyard. Noah is also the guitarist in what most people refer to as a “mildly decent band” and FUN FACT: he will *die* if you give him peanuts. Do not feed the wild Cayangyangs.