That photo is all the preamble you need, let’s get into it:
The US started the night in the driver’s seat. The entire first half of the first period was all US of A, they were skating circles around Canada but just nothing could get through to the net. Then, along the boards, Caroline Harvey cross-checks a Canadian, Brianne Jenner scores on the resulting Canadian PP, and the tides shift dramatically. Canada found their legs and kept steady pressure on the US. The US did stand tall and keep things 0-1 heading into the second while outshooting the Canadians 16-5 through the first 20.
The second period was the most intense 20 minutes of hockey we’ve had thus far in this Olympics. Dani Cameranesi and Alex Carpenter got this pasty started with 2 back-to-back US goals 9 minutes into the period. Cameranesi’s goal got us tied 1-1 with Canada and 2 minutes later, Carpenter gave us the tentative 2-1 lead.
And for some time
(26 whole seconds), I had hope. For not even half a minute, I knew security and happiness. Alas, Brianne Jenner is slowly crawling her way up my American shitlist. (I can’t give you highlights because Capitalism so please enjoy different gifs to explain the general mood of said goal)
Jenner tied things back up at 2-2 with a goal 26 seconds after Carpenter’s scored the US’s 2nd goal. Jamie Lee Rattray added some salt to the wound with Canada’s 3rd goal of the period 2:25 after Jenner’s. The US picked up another power play but could do nothing with it. Shortly thereafter, as if things weren’t bad enough, Cayla Barnes hooked Marie-Philip Poulin while she was on a breakaway, and oh great, Canada now has a penalty shot.
It’s Marie-Philip Poulin. You know what happened next.
(I’m desperately searching for a video of her goal but the corporations that run the Olympics (I’m looking at you NBC, you ungrateful swine) decided to make it impossible to find clips of goals for other countries so as I am screaming at Twitter searching for a highlight that works. But I digress and that will be a whole separate blog itself.)
That’s right she scores – no problem and it’s 2-4 Canada. So the US and Canada go into a tension-filled 3rd period where anything can happen. It’s just a two-goal difference and they have a whole 20 minutes to figure it out, right?
In the end, nothing really does happen, at least not on the scoring sheet. Canada covered all 21 shots the US unleashed on them. The US even picked up 2 power plays but they couldn’t convert on either. Canada pulled out this 2-4 win in an absolute roller coaster of a game.
Everything started in the US’s favor. They had so much puck control, so much command at the helm – but they just couldn’t get anything in the net, which is ya know the point in hockey. Once they got scored on in the mid-1st, everything shifted. Canada was right on their tails, they woke up after a dreary first 14 minutes. The US had countless chances to make a move but just nothing could get past Ann-Renee Desbiens. In the end, the US outshot Canada 53-27! I don’t think Maddie Rooney did horrible per se, every goal was not on her. But I would have, without a doubt, started Alex Cavallini or Nicole Hansley. I know Cavallini was the last to start but I think she would have been my starter in this one before Rooney. I have nothing against Rooney, she’s a great goaltender but Hensley and Cavallini are riding back-to-back-shutouts, they’ve played against Canada at high-stake games numerous times before, at least give them a shot here.
Like I said, not all of this falls on Rooney. The US had 6 powerplay opportunities and one thing I forgot since mid-December is what a mess their powerplay is. They converted on zero (0) of those 6 powerplays. When Canada is just barely ahead of you, at the Olympics, you find a way to convert on that powerplay. These next few games are a big deal so figure that out before you head into a medal-round game. The US’s big dogs fell silent when they needed them on the front line.
I think Alex Carpenter had a good game tonight; a goal, 8 shots on net, and 17:04 of ice time. Cayla Barnes did pick up the hooking call that led to Marie-Philip Poulin’s penalty shot but otherwise, she had a long night. She registered an assist, 7 shots on net, and 24:45 of ice time. Caroline Harvey, on the other hand, did not have a good night. She had one 44 second shift in the first period, got called for cross-checking which the Canadians scored their first goal on the resulting power play, and Harvey didn’t see a single second of ice time past that. I didn’t hear or see anything about an injury so she might have been one and done after that penalty.
Overall, not the night the US wanted and they’re going to have to improve on that moving into the Finals. The US will take on the Czech Republic, who just lost in a shootout to Japan, next in the Quarter-finals. I think this USA team can make a full run to the G0ld-medal game but they need to look alive and learn from their mistakes if they want to win. I still fully believe in this team but this was our wake-up call. We’re not invincible, this is the Olympics and soon it’s win or go home. From here they have to move on and look alive. Score some powerplay goals, start feeling good, and start gunning for the gold.
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Featured Image: The IIHF's Website