The Halifax Metro Centre was transformed into a sea of red and white Tuesday night, as 10,506 hockey fans filled the Halifax arena to watch Team Canada face-off against Team USA in the Gold medal game of the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship.
Canada was shooting for their eighth straight title and came out on top with a 2-0 victory over the United States in what was an intense battle from start to finish. Nevertheless, Team Canada has won all World Championships since the inaugural event in 1990, and this year’s tournament was no exception.
From the first drop of the puck, the first period was a see-saw affair that had fans gripping their seats in anticipation. With chants of “Go Canada Go” filling the air, the stadium roared every time the Canadians gained control of the puck.
Throughout the first, Team Canada skated hard and moved the puck around quickly. The United States fought equally as hard and put Team Canada to the test at every opportunity. The fans came for an exciting hockey game, and that’s exactly what they got.
Canada created a number of quality scoring chances. At 7:25 of the first Gillian Apps and Dana Antal went in strong on a two-on-one, but came up short. Apps got tied up and missed both the pass from Antal and the chance to put it away.
The Canadians worked hard down low in the USA zone, but could not put it past USA starting goalie Pam Dreyer. An American forward broke loose with the puck and challenged Gillian Ferrari on a one-on-one, but Ferrari got physical and pushed the opposition off the puck.
Later in the first the Canadian net was left wide open when Kim St-Pierre fell on the puck. But the whistle wasn’t called right away and the Americans dug out the puck from underneath St-Pierre. The crowd jumped to their feet as the USA just barely missed, hitting the post before the whistle was called.
Cherie Piper snagged the puck and carried it down all alone, but Dreyer stoned the wrist shot and denied Canada’s chance to open the scoring.
The Canadians gained a power play opportunity at the end of the first off a boarding call against USA’s Kerry Weiland, but despite some strong shots on net and great offensive work, they couldn’t produce a goal.
The chants and cheers continued as the second period got underway. Action continued to waiver back-and-forth between these two evenly matched teams, but at 4:17 Canadian offensive powerhouse Hayley Wickenheiser fired a wrist shot off from just inside the blue line. The puck sailed over Dreyer’s shoulder and into the top right corner of the net to put Canada up on the scoreboard. That goal would make it 1-0 for the red and white. The noise in the stadium reached a fever pitch as the Canadians celebrated their first goal of the night.
When play started again, Team Canada veteran Cassie Campbell was all alone in the USA zone as an American defender skated hard back – but not before Campbell let off a shot of her own. Much to the dismay of the fans, the shot went wide of the net and off the boards.
Team USA continued to pick up the pace and put strong pressure on the Canadian defenders. Forward Angela Ruggiero carried it around the Canadian net and put it on St-Pierre’s pads. She was able to pick to pick up her own rebound and let off another wrister, but St-Pierre would smother the shot this time.
Next it would be Team Canada with the chance to score. Piper snuck behind the American defence. Her teammates fed the puck up to her, but Piper fell twice in her attempt to put it on Dreyer’s net.
The Canadians earned a couple of power play opportunities, but the Americans were able to kill off the time and hold off the competition.
At 16:56 it was Canadian forward Gillian Apps who was sent to the box for hooking. Team USA’s Cammi Granato managed to let off a quick shot on net, but the puck hit St-Pierre’s skate and the Canadian goaltender was able to cover up the rebound.
After an incredibly action-packed first two, the third proved to be even more heated than the previous periods.
The Americans came out on fire, obviously hungry to get on the score sheet and tie up the game. But it would be the Canadians who would dent the twine again, with Delaney Collins notching one within the first five minutes. Antal carried it in and fed it to the front of the net. It looked like Dreyer had a handle on it, but Collins dug away and poked the puck in to put Canada up 2-0.
The Americans would not let up, however, and fought hard until the bitter end of the game. Their efforts almost paid off numerous times – Team USA created some quality chances throughout the period – but in the end it just wasn’t their game.
The United States had many valuable scoring chances, hitting the post and striking a nervous chord throughout the Metro Centre more than once. The Americans got the man advantage at 14:33 of the third, when Collins got two minutes for hooking.
Natalie Darwitz, top goal scorer for USA at the World Championship, fired a shot at net that appeared to fly past Pierre’s right shoulder, but the referees called it a “no goal.” The questionable call left the Americans frustrated and the Canadians breathing a sigh of relief.
Both teams continued to pick up the pace. The Canadians displayed some nice transitions in the neutral zone, making crisp passes and dumping the puck down the ice to run down the time.
St-Pierre made some spectacular saves in the dying minutes of the game, holding off a strong Team USA that refused to let up.
“We Are The Champions” and the sounds of a satisfied sell-out crowd rang through the Metro Centre as the members of Team Canada jumped off the bench and created a pile up in front of the Canucks net to celebrate their victory in the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship.
The player of the game for Team USA was defender Angela Ruggiero, while Canada’s player of the game was fan favourite Wickenheiser.
“We had a great tournament,” said tournament all-star forward Jennifer Botterill following the game. “It was a fun (final) hockey game to play.”
“We felt all that energy and enthusiasm,” she remarked on the Canadian pride exemplified by all the fans in attendance. “It was pretty special.”
“The game was ours. We really felt that the whole time,” said Wickenheiser. She added that defeating the competition in front of a Canadian crowd was especially significant.
“For me being on the East Coast is exciting,” agreed Canadian captain Cassie Campbell.
“Traditions are carried on year after year,” she said regarding her team’s eighth straight win.
“The younger players are better than I was at their age,” commented Campbell about players such as Gillian Apps, Gillian Ferrari and Cherie Piper, who played in their first World Championship this year.
“This is what I’ve always wanted, sacrificed for, lived for,” said Ferrari. “I’m thrilled.”
“We have an outstanding group of athletes,” added Karen Hughes, who also won her first World Championship. “It feels awesome – you can’t put that into words.”
The 2004 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia has set an all-time attendance record for the event. A total of about 100,000 fans came out to cheer on Team Canada, Team USA and the rest of the teams who participated in the 20 games of this world class tournament.
03:21 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Kilbourne, interference
17:15 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Weiland, boarding
24:17 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Wickenheiser (Goyette, Brisson)
31:37 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Insalaco, tripping
33:49 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Vasichek, roughing
36:56 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Apps, hooking
41:37 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Collins
42:45 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Ruggiero, body checking
44:22 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Apps, boarding
52:33 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Piper, hooking
54:33 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Collins, hooking
56:00 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Ka. King, roughing
W: 🇨🇦 St-Pierre (26-26)
L: 🇺🇸 Dreyer (25-27)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇦 10+8+9 = 27
🇺🇸 9+5+12 = 26
🇨🇦 Goaltenders: Sami Jo Small, Kim St-Pierre. Defence: Thérèse Brisson, Delaney Collins, Gillian Ferrari, Becky Kellar, Cheryl Pounder, Colleen Sostorics. Forwards: Dana Antal, Gillian Apps, Kelly Bechard, Jennifer Botterill, Cassie Campbell, Danielle Goyette, Jayna Hefford, Gina Kingsbury, Caroline Ouellette, Cherie Piper, Vicky Sunohara, Hayley Wickenheiser.
🇺🇸 Goaltenders: Pam Dreyer, Chanda Gunn. Defence: Molly Engstrom, Kelli Halcisak, Kim Insalaco, Angela Ruggiero, Julianne Vasichek, Kerry Weiland. Forwards: Julie Chu, Natalie Darwitz, Tricia Dunn, Cammi Granato, Kathleen Kauth, Andrea Kilbourne, Katie King, Kristin King, Jenny Schmidgall, Kelly Stephens.
|🇨🇦 CANADA||vs.||UNITED STATES (C) 🇺🇸|
(previous 06 Nov 2003)
|Last Title||reign ends
(since 06 Nov 2003)
|First IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. USA)
🇨🇦 CAN 2-1 USA 🇺🇸 – 21 Apr 1987 – WWT – North York 🇨🇦
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. USA)
🇺🇸 USA 3-1 CAN 🇨🇦 – 03 Apr 2004 – WWC – Halifax 🇨🇦
|Last IHLC Game
🇺🇸 USA 9-2 SWE 🇸🇪 – 05 Apr 2004 – WWC – Halifax 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 8-0 FIN 🇫🇮 – 09 Nov 2004 – EX – Lake Placid 🇺🇸
Article Credit: Hockey Canada