History seemed as if it were all but on the American women’s side to repeat as Olympic champions in Salt Lake City – on home ice, no less. They had stunned Canada in the 1998 Olympic final to win women’s hockey’s first gold, and defeated Canada in eight straight exhibition lead-up games to the Olympics.
But the Canadian women’s squad was looking to make some history of their own, and they exacted their revenge for Nagano by stunning the Americans at home to win both Olympic Gold and the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
While history was one factor working against the Canadians, the other appeared to be the refereeing, which saw a record thirteen penalties dished out to Canada by American referee Stacey Livingston, including eight straight. However, on the backs of an early Caroline Ouellette goal, a strong penalty kill and the goaltending heroics of Kim St-Pierre, Canada held on 1-0 after 20. The penalties would eventually bite back at the start of the second, where a Katie King redirect equaled the score at 1-1. But Canada was quick to strike back, with star forward Hayley Wickenheiser pounced on a Sara DeCosta rebound to put Canada ahead less than three minutes after King’s goal. A controversial breakaway goal by Jayna Hefford with one second left in the second period put Canada up 3-1 after forty minutes.
The U.S. had to depend on more power plays in the third to equalize, but couldn’t make a dent in Kim St-Pierre until Karyn Bye rifled a point shot to make the score 3-2. However, with only three and half minutes remaining, and determined to keep a clean sheet to avoid any potential 6-on-4 scenarios, Team Canada held back the Americans from striking again to capture their first Olympic gold in front of a stunned pro-U.S. crowd.
The Americans entered the 2002 games as IHLC champions, which they won from Canada in October 2001, and entered the Games on a 17-game winning streak, including the aforementioned eight straight against Canada. The Americans dispatched Germany, China, Finland and Sweden by a combined score of 31-1 to make the finals. With the victory, Canada begins its 13th reign as IHLC champions, which they last won in the 2001 World Championship finals in Minneapolis from the U.S. This is the second straight Olympics where the women’s Gold Medal winners also left the Games as IHLC champions – for more, check out the IHLC @ Olympics & Invitationals page.
01:45 – GOAL – Ouellette (Piper)
06:17 – PEN – Looney, holding
10:54 – PEN – Kennedy, roughing
12:15 – PEN – Botterill, tripping
14:05 – PEN – Wickenheiser, delay of game
17:01 – PEN – Brisson, body checking
17:52 – PEN – Sunohara, cross checking
21:11 – PEN – Kellar, hooking
21:59 – PP GOAL – King (Granato, Mounsey)
24:10 – GOAL – Wickenheiser (Goyette)
24:51 – PEN – Ouellette, roughing
31:25 – PEN – Chartrand, tripping
34:03 – PEN – Botterill, tripping
35:37 – PEN – Wendell, charging
38:05 – PEN – Kennedy, roughing
38:05 – PEN – Ouellette, roughing
39:59 – GOAL – Hefford (Kellar, Brisson)
40:44 – PEN – Wall, roughing
41:49 – PEN – Kellar, roughing
45:02 – PEN – Sostorics, body checking
50:56 – PEN – Baker, holding
50:56 – PEN – Dupuis, high sticking
56:04 – PEN – Bechard, tripping
56:27 – PP GOAL – Bye (Mounsey, Schmidgall)
W: St-Pierre (27-29)
L: DeCosta (24-27)
SHOTS ON GOAL
11+9+7 = 27
9+10+10 = 29
Goaltenders: Sami Jo Small, Kim St-Pierre. Defence: Thérèse Brisson, Isabelle Chartrand, Geraldine Heaney, Becky Kellar, Cheryl Pounder, Colleen Sostorics. Forwards: Dana Antal, Kelly Bechard, Jennifer Botterill, Cassie Campbell (C), Lori Dupuis, Danielle Goyette, Jayna Hefford, Caroline Ouellette, Cherie Piper, Tammy Lee Shewchuk, Vicky Sunohara (A), Hayley Wickenheiser (A).
Goaltenders: Sara DeCosta, Sarah Tueting. Defence: Chris Bailey, Courtney Kennedy, Sue Merz, Allison Mleczko, Tara Mounsey, Angela Ruggiero, Lyndsay Wall. Forwards: Laurie Baker, Karyn Bye (A), Julie Chu, Natalie Darwitz, Tricia Dunn, Cammi Granato (C), Andrea Kilbourne, Katie King, Shelley Looney, Jenny Schmidgall, Krissy Wendell.