It is finally the night we have all been waiting for. The men’s national hockey teams of North America have fallen oh so hard and fast from grace but it’s time for the real stars to shine.
Tonight, the US and Canada will face off for the highest athletic honor you can achieve: an Olympic Gold Medal. Team USA and Team Canada have fought, tooth and nail for weeks to make it to this game. Finland has already claimed their bronze medal. Now we have one final 60 minute battle for the top prize. You win a gold medal or you lose and get a silver medal.
They’ve faced one another previously in this tournament and about a zillion times before that. In their previous game at these Olympics, Canada came out with a 2-4 win in a game that the US majorly controlled. Now, it’s time for a do-or-die rematch. And you bet your sweet ass I’m pulling for the US here.
In that last game against Canada, the US had amazing momentum but Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens stood tall and stopped a lot of shots. Should she be in net, the US needs to crack her early and gets the jets going. They had an incredible amount of drive in that last game but no finish. Get things set up early, get a goal or two off the hop, and keep that drive going. They really will have to take shots on the power play. The US’s powerplay has been messy for a while and they were fruitless on many key opportunities before so getting some power-play goals would help tremendously.
Last time, we saw Maddie Rooney, the young American goaltender, in net. I like Rooney but that was not her best performance. This is Canada in the Gold Medal Game, we can’t put the rookie in net. Despite Nicole Hensley only playing one game in these Olympics so far, it seems that the US will be starting Alex Cavallini (Rigsby) in this contest. As I mentioned, Hensley has played in one game at this Olympics and she hosted a shutout. Cavallini has played 3 games, she’s been their starter in these final rounds, and she has a .67 GAA and .955 save percentage. Either of them will do but I do have full faith in Cavallini to get the job done. She’s seasoned with this kind of pressure. As long as the defense doesn’t leave her completely out to dry, we should be smooth sailing.
I expect Hilary Knight (who is setting another record tonight), Kendall Coyne-Schofield, Alex Carpenter, and Amanda Kessel to be massive in this game tonight. They have been the big dogs running this team for years, most of them are on top of this points list. Tonight is a do-or-die game and that’s when they find their groove. I also hope we see some of the kids on the score sheet. Jesse Compher and Savannah Harmon have been top-notch in these games so far, I hope we get some more oomph out of Abby Roque and Grace Zumwinkle in this final.
With everything this team has worked on and perfected in the past few months, this has been the moment they’ve been waiting for. This is that moment in “Miracle” (2004), where it’s a few hours before the game against the Soviets and Herb Brooks is sitting at his desk. He closes the binder calmly, looks over the roster, and walks out the door knowing he’s walking into the battle he has been preparing his team for. This is the calm before the storm. This team knows what they need to do to win, they’ve been training, and practicing, and sacrificing so much to get where they are right now: the Gold Medal Game at the 2022 Olympics.
This is the day. This is the calm. Tomorrow will either be the best or worst day of my life and there will be no in-between. This is a rivalry that has been building since the dawn of women’s hockey at the Olympics. This is the rivalry that started it all. It’s a rivalry that has been burning hot since it was forged and it will keep burning until this planet ends. And this is the US’s time to shine. it’s their time to keep that flame burning. They have fought and earned this battle and they’re ready to win. I believe they can do it. I will leave you with some well wishes and two incredible important videos:
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Featured Image: CBS Sports