As the Olympics took place in February, both the Canada and the US women’s hockey teams were not shy about stating the animosity that existed between the two teams. And the Canadians managed to earn the gold, while the U.S. took the silver. Well, the next generation of women, for these two teams, are already getting to know each other. Some of the women who will play each other tomorrow during the International Ice Hockey Foundation’s (IIHF) Women’s Under-18 gold medal game in Budapest, Hungary will undoubtedly see each other across the ice a number of times in the coming years. And some of them will likely face each other during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
On Saturday, the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 team beat the Czech Republic team in their semi-final game to ensure their chance at gold. The gold medal game will be live streamed on the IIHF’s website at www.iihf.com beginning at 1:30pm Eastern.
Team USA, beat the Czech Republic with a 3-1 final. Goal scorers for the United States included Sydney Baldwin and Rebecca Gilmore who both scored power play goals and an even strength goal by Kenzie Kent. Vendula Pribylova scored the lone Czech goal during five-on-five play.
“The Czech Republic was a difficult opponent tonight and I was proud of our team’s resiliency, for not getting down when the Czech’s tied the game,” said U.S. head coach Jeff Kampersal. “We earned the win by maintaining our composure, working hard and sticking to our game.”
And it would have been understandable had the US team been knocked slightly off their game when the Czech team tied it in the second as the US had managed to put 21 shots on goal in the first period versus the one shot on goal from the Czechs. When the game was finished the Czech Republic’s goalie, Klara Peslarova, stopped 58 of the 61 shots she saw. At the other end of the ice, US goalie, Kaitlin Burt saw just nine shots in the entire game, and allowed one to get by her.
“Our team played really hard today,” said USA captain Jincy Dunne. “Our forwards did a great job at just being relentless no matter where the puck was.”
The Czech team may have felt that the hockey gods were against them when they discovered they would be playing their semi-final game against the No.1 seeded American team. Team USA had scored a tournament-high 20 goals in their three previous games against Russia (6-1), Hungary (7-0) and Sweden (7-0).
Of course, Team Canada has also been undefeated during the tournament. Their games were against Japan (7-1), Finland (7-0) and the Czechs (5-0), before entering their semi-final game against the Russians, whom they would beat in overtime (1-0).
Though under 18 in age, it is anticipated that both teams will be bringing their strongest play. Eternal rivals, it is likely that Team USA is hoping to remind Team Canada that they must always keep an eye on Team USA. And perhaps for those women who watched with dissatisfaction as Team USA fell to Team Canada during the Olympics, this game means just a little more.
Again, IIHF will be live streaming the game beginning at 1:30 pm Eastern on their web site www.iihf.com.