In all honesty, it was just a round robin game… right?
A battle for seeding and a fight for a first impression. It left Canada with a 3-2 win, a necessary trumping of an American women’s team that has won five of the last seven World Championships and four straight games against Canada.
Both teams had already clinched spots in the semi-finals, and both are expected to see each other in the gold medal final, depending on how the seeding shakes out in the elimination round.
But Wednesday was big for women’s hockey, or at least different, because it saw Sochi host the first-ever Olympic preliminary match between these two border buddies.
Was it done by design, to give Sweden or Finland or any other women’s team a swing at the fences? Perhaps. And Canada has bragging rights, for 24 hours at least.
Forward Meghan Agosta scored Canada’s first and third goals, and Hayley Wickenheiser potted the middle marker, a weird bouncer that American Alex Carpenter redirected into her own net.
All of Canada’s goals came in third period.
The Americans took a 1-0 lead into the final frame, off a powerplay goal from Hilary Knight. Anne Schleper made it 3-2 with two minutes remaining, and the Canadian women fought off a 6-4 American advantage to close out the game and its round robin.
Canadian speed skater Denny Morrison was the only Canadian to add to the country’s medal count on Wednesday, leaving the Canadians with 10 total and a tie with Netherlands for second overall.
Germany now leads the gold medal count with five, one more than Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands.
Norway leads the Games’ overall medal count with 12.
Morrison won silver in the Men’s 1,000 metre race, finishing 0.04 seconds behind Dutch skater Stefan Groothuis. Bronze medallist Michel Mulder – also from the Netherlands – finished 0.31 seconds off Morrison’s mark.
Today’s silver is Morrison’s third Olympic medal. He picked up a gold in Vancouver’s speed skating competition in 2010, in the team pursuit, and a silver in Turin’s team pursuit event in 2006.