There was no reason to suspect that anything would be different in 2006. Since 1990, when women’s hockey became an official IIHF event, every finals had been a Canada-USA affair. This was the rivalry that kept women’s hockey alive and exciting, but in some ways it was also one that was taking interest away from the sport.
On the one hand, the two countries always demonstrated the very pinnacle of skill; on the other, some fans were getting bored by the sameness and predictability of each gold-medal game. Coming into the 2006 Olympics, another Canada-USA gold-medal game seemed inevitable; no country, notably Sweden or Finland, had shown an ability to beat either nation prior to the Turin Games. And, indeed, the preliminary round went as usual, Canada and the USA winning all their games.
There was, however, a noticeable difference. Canada beat its opponents badly (16-0, 12-0, 8-1) while the Americans won with a bit more difficulty. Finland, for instance, led USA 2-1 and 3-2 after the first and second periods, respectively, before bowing, 7-3. Still, the semi-finals pitted Canada versus Finland and USA versus Sweden, and everything looked status quo. Canada crushed Finland 6-0, but the Americans did nothing of the sort to the Damkronor.
The game started out on form as Kristin King scored on the power play to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead after the first period, and Kelly Stephens added another goal with the man advantage early in the second to make it 2-0. But Sweden’s Maria Rooth rose to the occasion. She scored once to make it a 2-1 game, and then midway through the period she scored a short-handed goal to tie the score. A stunned USA team headed to the dressing room in a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes, and it was the Swedes who came out in the third with a confidence no one could have predicted. The third, and a 10-minute overtime period that followed, could not produce another goal, so the teams went to a shootout.
The nervous Americans were stoned on all of their chances by goalie Kim Martin, and Rooth and Pernilla Winberg both scored to give Sweden an unbelievable victory. Sports Illustrated, where not even men’s professional hockey gets much space, devoted two pages to this historic win and the headline was the Swedish word “Mirakel”.
The Swedes were going to the gold-medal game, and the Americans had to play for bronze less than 24 hours later. Canada beat Sweden, 4-1 to win gold again, and the Americans won bronze with a 4-0 win over the Finns. But, the story of the tournament was Maria Rooth, Kim Martin, and their Swedish teammates who made women’s hockey history by taking their country to a silver medal.
07:14 – PEN – Asserholt, holding
10:31 – PEN – Jansson, boarding
11:55 – PP GOAL – Kr. King (Schmidgall, Chu)
12:31 – PEN – Resor, cross checking
13:05 – PEN – Wall, interference
16:51 – PEN – Nevalainen, tripping
19:21 – PEN – Eliasson, holding
21:04 – PP GOAL – Stephens (Wall, Darwitz)
23:06 – PEN – Wendell, tripping
26:17 – GOAL – Rooth (O’Konor)
27:44 – PEN – Edstrand, body checking
29:40 – SH GOAL – Rooth (Holst)
32:08 – PEN – Lindqvist, interference
32:45 – PEN – Eliasson, hooking
33:51 – PEN – G. Andersson, cross checking
42:26 – PEN – Hagerman, interference
48:33 – PEN – Holst, tripping
50:49 – PEN – Asserholt, body checking
57:15 – PEN – Stephens, tripping
58:51 – PEN – Wendell, holding
67:36 – PEN – Rundqvist, tripping
W: Martin (37-39)
L: Gunn (15-18)
SHOTS ON GOAL
4+5+5+3+1 = 18
13+14+4+8+0 = 39
Goaltenders: Cecilia Andersson, Kim Martin. Defence: Gunilla Andersson (A), Jenni Asserholt, Joa Elfsberg, Emma Eliasson. Forwards: Ann-Louise Edstrand, Erika Holst (C), Nanna Jansson, Jenny Lindqvist, Kristina Lundberg, Frida Nevalainen, Emilie O’Konor, Maria Rooth (A), Danijela Rundqvist, Therese Sjölander, Katarina Timglas, Pernilla Winberg.
Goaltenders: Pam Dreyer, Chanda Gunn. Defence: Caitlin Cahow, Molly Engstrom, Jamie Hagerman, Courtney Kennedy, Helen Resor, Angela Ruggiero (A), Lyndsay Wall. Forwards: Julie Chu, Natalie Darwitz, Tricia Dunn, Kim Insalaco, Kathleen Kauth, Katie King, Kristin King, Sarah Parsons, Jenny Schmidgall, Kelly Stephens, Krissy Wendell (C).
|SWEDEN||vs.||UNITED STATES (C)|
|Last Title||reign ends
|First IHLC Meeting (SWE vs. USA)
USA 10-2 SWE – 11/10/2000 – FNC – Provo
|Previous IHLC Meeting (SWE vs. USA)
USA 9-2 SWE – 04/05/2004 – WWC – Halifax
|Last IHLC Game
USA 7-3 FIN – 02/14/2006 – OG – Turin
|Next IHLC Game
CAN 4-1 SWE – 02/20/2006 – OG – Turin