2014 was quite a year for the International Hockey Lineal Championship, in that theihlc.com formally launched in September, bringing 100+ years of international hockey history online. But this calendar year certainly saw its share of movement and excitement as well.
The women’s International Hockey Lineal Championship saw a bit less frequent action than usual, due to the Sochi Olympics replacing the typical April World Championships. However, the Olympics spared no drama between women’s hockey’s two greatest rivals, Canada and the United States. Following a bitter, back and forth exhibition series leading up to Sochi, the U.S. started 2014 with the title following an exhibition win in Toronto on December 30, carrying the IHLC to the Olympics.
As expected, Team USA was easily able to dispatch their opening group round opponents, Finland and Switzerland, before losing the IHLC to Canada in their group round finale on February 12. Canada edged Switzerland in a closer-than-expected Semifinal to set up the fourth Canada-USA Gold Medal Game, an overtime thriller won on a two-goal effort from Marie-Philip Poulin to win Canada their fourth straight Gold, and unite the medal with the IHLC.
The Olympic win left Canada with a long summer and fall as IHLC champions, as their next defense did not begin until November’s Four Nations Cup, this time on home ice in Kamloops, British Columbia. Canada swept their group round with wins over Sweden, the U.S. and Finland, before edging out the Americans in a 3-2 shootout victory in the Gold Medal Game, once again giving fans a thrilling finish with the same result – Canada wins another Gold, holds on to the IHLC.
The following games were contested over the women’s IHLC in 2014 (click for game recaps and boxscores):
🇺🇸 USA 3-1 FIN 🇫🇮 – 02/08/2014 – OG – Sochi 🇷🇺
🇺🇸 USA 9-0 SUI 🇨🇭 – 02/10/2014 – OG – Sochi 🇷🇺
🇨🇦 CAN 3-2 USA 🇺🇸 – 02/12/2014 – OG – Sochi 🇷🇺
🇨🇦 CAN 3-1 SUI 🇨🇭 – 02/17/2014 – OG – Sochi 🇷🇺
🇨🇦 CAN 3-2 USA 🇺🇸 (OT) – 02/20/2014 – OG – Sochi 🇷🇺 🏅
🇨🇦 CAN 2-0 SWE 🇸🇪 – 11/04/2014 – FNC – Kamloops 🇨🇦
🇨🇦 CAN 3-2 USA 🇺🇸 – 11/05/2014 – FNC – Kamloops 🇨🇦
🇨🇦 CAN 3-1 FIN 🇫🇮 – 11/07/2014 – FNC – Kamloops 🇨🇦
🇨🇦 CAN 3-2 USA 🇺🇸 (SO) – 11/08/2014 – FNC – Kamloops 🇨🇦 🏅
Canada now begins 2015 as IHLC champions, guaranteeing they will begin the 2015 World Championships in Sweden with the title in tow. However, the Americans have won Gold at four of the last five World Championships, and will certainly be hungry to avenge their shocking loss in Sochi, among a field of other new contenders looking to pull themselves closer to the Canadians in the IHLC Rankings.