The U.S. women’s national team looks to continue its torrid winning streak since Sochi, looking to capture another clean sheet at the 2016 World Championships in Kamloops, British Columbia, after cleaning house at both the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Four Nations Cup.
Team USA, seeking their seventh Women’s World Championship title (and third straight) looks to keep the heat up on their arch-rivals (and likely Gold Medal foes for the 17th straight time) in Canada, looking to again stun the Canucks on home ice (as they did at the 2013 Worlds in Ottawa). The question for Kamloops is whether the Canadian defense corps can find a way to contain the torrid scoring of the Americans’ top line of Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne and Brianna Decker, who led Team USA in scoring in Malmö last year en route to Gold. Another item of interest – the last time these two met in Kamloops, Canada eked out a narrow shootout win to capture the 2014 Four Nations Cup.
Another item of interest is the emerging nations, such as Russia, Finland and Switzerland, and whether they will be able to make a dent in the tournament. While the two latter teams offered up some strong (and surprising) play at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the standings have remained largely static since. However, with three spots up for grabs at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games (as Canada and the U.S. have already claimed two), these squads will be fighting tooth and nail to make an impact.
The tournament should certainly hold a lot of intrigue and drama, and will not only provide the next chapter in the historic Canada-USA rivalry, but also clear up the majority of the picture for the next Olympics, now just two short years away. Who leaves Kamloops with Gold, and with the IHLC as well, remains to be seen, but it will surely be an exciting week of hockey!