Canada-U.S. women’s hockey rivalry remains the gold standard

Considering That ladies’s hockey used to be included on the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Canada and the U.S. have competed in five of the closing six finals, collectively successful all of the gold medals — 4 for Canada, two for the Americans. 

the two countries are again expected to do battle for gold, but there remains intrigue with the opposite competing teams. 

The Olympic hockey match starts Wednesday evening (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 11 p.m. ET) and ends with the gold-medal ultimate on Feb. 17.

Teams are break up into two seeded groups, with the 5 most sensible-ranked teams in Crew A and the rest squads in Workforce B. All 5 Staff A groups routinely strengthen to the quarter-finals, where they’re going to face off in an eight-team bracket that comes with the top three Staff B finishers.

For audience taking a look beyond Canada and the U.S., CBC Olympic reporter Kenzie Lalonde recommends conserving an eye fixed on 3 international players: Finnish defender Jenni Hiirikoski, Swiss centre Alina Müller, and Czech ahead Alena Generators.

Here’s how the groups holiday down:

Favourites: Canada, U.S.

Canada enters the Olympics on top, having long past undefeated to win August’s global championship, swept a 3-game fall exhibition collection in opposition to Finland, and claimed 4 of six preparatory conferences with the Americans (regardless that required time beyond regulation).

While it would sound cliché, Lalonde points to fast begins as key for the Canadians.

“At worlds they appeared to in finding their speed in the 2nd period,” she mentioned. “i feel it is going to be critical for them to play that full 60 minutes and be certain they get objectives at the scoreboard early.”

The U.S. is the protecting Olympic champion, and even though Canada’s had the higher hand this yr, it hasn’t been by means of much.

The Americans are sporting three goalies who all have Olympic revel in. additionally they boast dynamic defenders and can roll four bad scoring traces.

“They’re Going To be a fast crew, a hard crew,” Lalonde said.

WATCH | Examining the Canada-U.S.A. on-ice competition:

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Contenders: Finland, ROC, Switzerland

Finland is shut at the back of the North American Citizens, and has confirmed it could actually beat them. The Rest not up to a medal would be a disappointment for the Finns; the query in Beijing can be the color.

Lalonde considers Finland in a period of transition and can most likely play for bronze. Four-time Olympian goalie Noora Räty is a outstanding omission from the roster ― common manager Tuula Puputti stated they’re assured in 24-12 months-old Anni Keisala and felt Räty, a lifelong starter, wasn’t suited for a backup position.

Switzerland beat the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) THREE-2 in a dramatic quarter-ultimate at the global championships, but both of these squads have been with out arguably their very best players: Switzerland’s Müller and ROC forward Anna Shokhina.

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Müller neglected so much of the event with an damage sustained in the group’s initial spherical matchup.

“With the ROC, those video games are always chippy,” Lalonde mentioned, noting the Russians’ propensity for taking consequences.

Shokhina, a prolific scorer for club and united states of america, didn’t attend worlds. With the TWO HUNDRED-foot presence of Müller and Shokhina’s brought scoring touch, each countries will aim for a medal in Beijing.

Canada-U.S. women's hockey rivalry remains the gold standard

Switzerland ahead Alina Müller, seen above in the course of the 2018 Iciness Video Games in Pyeongchang, is a number of the key players to maintain tabs on when the Olympic women’s hockey event begins in Beijing on Wednesday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Pictures)

Darkish horse: Czechia

Though the Czechs completed seventh in the final rating at worlds, they are possibly Finland’s closest festival. The Finns have received all 3 of this season’s meetings, but all the time by only one goal.

Sadly, Czechia’s position in Group B implies that it is doomed to face a most sensible-3 Staff A team within the quarter-finals.

The Czechs have the talent to compete for a medal, but the bracket gained’t make getting there simple.

the remainder: Japan, Sweden, Denmark, China

Japan qualified to those Olympics immediately thru the world rankings, an enormous feat for the developing program. The Japanese play a structured sport and have recently began to generate more offence against best festival, however they tend to depend on a shortened bench.

“i believe they overplay their top strains,” Lalonde mentioned. “However Japan unearths a way to win, and goaltender Nana Fujimoto is helping them get to that time.”

WATCH | The shut bond within Canada’s girls’s hockey group:

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Swedes fall on laborious instances

Having been relegated from the 2019 world championship, the once-robust Swedes booked their spot in Beijing thru a last-likelihood qualifier. Positive pre-departure COVID-19 tests have left them without four contributors of their authentic roster, including starting goaltender Sara Grahn and star ahead Hanna Olsson.

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The Danes are competing in their first Olympics, after completing ultimate at top division worlds in the summer time. Denmark has some best-finish talent, similar to forward Josefine Jakobsen, but most likely lacks the depth had to enhance.

The host usa’s roster contains 10 avid gamers raised in China and THIRTEEN North American Citizens, so much of whom have Chinese historical past. Although that is the brand new-glance group’s first world event, they’ve played some exhibitions, and such a lot of the crowd spent the season along side the KRS Vanke Rays in Russia’s girls’s hockey league.

China started the quadrennial with medal aspirations; making the knockout spherical a extra practical ambition.

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