March 22, 2018

American Women's Ice Hockey Team Reach Olympic Final

21 February 2018, 07:12 | Anita Wise

Preview Canada's women's hockey team firing on all cylinders heading into semifinal

Goalie Florence Schelling, of Switzerland watches as Russian athlete Anna Shokhina shoots the puck past her for a goal during the third period of the quarterfinal round of the women's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South

Let her explain what that's like.

The United States secured its place in its third straight gold medal game with a victory over Finland in the semifinals on Monday.

So now, the USA likely faces arch-rival Canada, victor of every Olympic tournament since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, in Thursday's gold medal duel.

It'll happen again here in PyeongChang when the two teams tussle Thursday morning with four years' worth of bragging rights at stake. But the Russian men's hockey team crushed the US 4-0 in a preliminary round game.

Women's hockey was added to the Olympics at the 1998 Games in Nagano.

Despite lopsided officiating (Canada went to the penalty box 11 times), Team Canada would take the game 3-2 off a Jayna Hefford goal. The victor will join Team USA and Canada on the medal podium, though which order those two will be in is still up in the air. Tips, screens, and deflections, " coach Robb Stauber said.

Almost a year after threatening to strike in order to achieve a more fair and better contract with USA Hockey, which they did - just before the World Championships, which they won - these Americans know what they are chasing. Canada then equalised in the final seconds and won in over-time.

There are women's pro hockey leagues on both sides of the border, but Olympic gold is still the pinnacle of the women's game.

They have found little success on the ice, shipping 28 goals and scoring only twice in five games.

As countdown clocks on redemption go, this one has been ticking for a long time. It's been a back-and-forth hockey game. "I don't think so".

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Canada's Jenner says she is living out her childhood dream playing for gold. She was named MVP in Vancouver in 2010 and is assistant captain this year. Canada already has a curling medal at the Pyeongchang Games, a gold from mixed doubles partners John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes.

"We certainly are going to take that experience and build off it because we certainly do feel confident where we're at".

Noora Raty is the goalie for Finland, hailed by many as perhaps the tournament's top net-minder. She was with so numerous devastated players in the aftermath of the Sochi loss, commiserating in the Team USA House in Russian Federation. The Canadians, she says, play a superior team game, are always prepared and have a well-established system that's tough to beat.

Just weeks ahead of the opening ceremony, the two Koreas agreed to field a combined team for the Games, taking 12 players from the North and incorporating them into a squad along with the South's 23-player roster. "But I'm good", Savolainen said.

They threatened to boycott the 2017 world championship in Plymouth, Mich., and thus have no host team there. "We can feel that we have a lot of people pulling for us".

"A pretty incredible accomplishment by one of our officers and we're very proud of her", Chief Adam Palmer said at last week's police board meeting.

Four years ago, that was Canada, finishing off what Jenner called the "fairy-tale ending", a ridiculous, nearly unthinkable comeback that pushed the American team right back into its recurring nightmare.

"It's honestly a dream come true", said US forward Hilary Knight.

"I keep sort of pinching myself, " Knight said.

In 2014, the Americans were seconds from Olympic gold and saw a clinching shot at an empty net clank off a goalpost. I mean, that's a dream come true.

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