Gold medal game: Canada vs USA
07:00 PM at CAA Centre, Brampton
Watch on: TSN1, 3, and 4, RDS, NHL Network
Here are the lines for the previous Canada - USA matchup. Canada hasn't changed their lineup for several games so expect the same again. USA has been tinkering with their forward lines, today's lineup might be slightly different than the one below.
While we wait for puck-drop, have a look at how things shook out in the elimination rounds.
Czechia 2 - Finland 1
The quarter-final was not Czechia's best game. They went down 1-0 five minutes in and sometimes seemed overpowered by Finland, who put on their best game to date. However, Blanka Skodova and the Czech defence locked the door. Despite being outshot 42-22, Czechia got on the board twice in the second period with a pair of gorgeous goals. That was all it took to send Czechia to the medal rounds and Finland to the placement games.
USA 3 - Germany 0
The first surprise of quarter-final Thursday came when Germany held Team USA to only three goals due to good defense and an excellent 49-save performance by Sandra Abstreiter. Team USA outshot and outworked Germany but it was their special teams that made the difference – two power play goals and one shorthanded goal made it past the German goalie, while Aerin Frankel got her first shutout of the tournament.
Canada 3 - Sweden 2 (OT)
Sweden brought their absolute best to their quarter-final match-up against Canada, surprising everyone by tying the game in the dying seconds and forcing overtime. That the tying goal scorer was 16 year old Hilda Svensson was no surprise to anyone who had been watching the tournament. Goalie Emma Soderberg impressed the world – and certainly the crowd at the rink – with her 51 save performance. Fortunately, Team Canada has Sarah Nurse.
Switzerland 5 - Japan 1
The Stalder-Muller-Enzler line was out in force for their quarter-final game. At least two of the three were involved in each of the Swiss goals, with some help from defender Lara Christen. Japanese goalie Miyuu Masuhara was pulled in the second period after letting in 4 goals on 19 shots. Forward Akane Hosoyamada was suspended for the next game after a crosscheck on Shannon Sigrist that saw Sigrist exit the game.
Finland 8 - Germany 2
Germany opened the scoring in this game but couldn't keep it up. Meanwhile Petra Nieminen had herself a game, racking up a hat trick and an assist.
Sweden 1 - Japan 0
This was the definition of a tight game. Soderberg followed up her heroic quarter-final performance with a 23 save shutout. 18 year old Riko Kawaguchi also made 23 saves, faced one more shot -- a goal from Josefin Bouveng which made all the difference. Both goalies earned Player of the Game from their respective teams, and Sweden went to the fifth place game for the first time since 2017.
USA 9 - Czechia 1
I got thoroughly sick of Team USA's goal song (I'm a Believer by the Monkees) by the end of this game, and I like the Monkees. It sounds strange to say that this was a better overall game for the Czechs than the quarter-finals but that's how it looked. The Czechs frustrated the heck out of the Americans early and started adapting during the game. They pulled Skodova after the third goal, and that and the dominant American power play really turned it from a close game to a blowout. Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight and Tessa Janecke each scored two, but it was defender Caroline Harvey who led the Americans in points, with one goal and three assists.
Canada 5 - Switzerland 1
Andrea Braendli made 54 saves and kept Canada off the board for fully half the game, but it really was no contest. Canada allowed only nine shots in total, less than half of that at even strength, and Sarah Fillier added to her growing reputation by notching a hat trick. Despite that, Switzerland might have been able to put up more of a fight if the officials hadn't overreacted to a Lara Stalder hit late in the first period. She was given five and a game, effectively crippling her team. Without her linemate, Alina Mueller scored the lone Swiss goal on a five on three power play.
Finland 3 - Sweden 1
Finland chose to go with goalie Sanni Ahola over the veteran Anni Keisala and in the opening minute that looked like a mistake, as Swedish captain Anna Kjellbin scored on the first shot of the game. The Finns got it together and only allowed Sweden one more shot in the period. Emma Soderberg made 39 saves, but her teammates racked up more penalty minutes than they did shots. The two power play goals by Jenni Hiirikoski and Noora Tulus made the difference, sending Finland back into Group A for 2024.
Czechia 3 - Switzerland 2
Lara Stalder opened the scoring, but Czechia otherwise dominated possession early, in part due to Swiss penalties. Denisa Krizova scored two for Czechia, including the game-winner. Alina Mueller had more than one chance stymied by the crossbar. Andrea Braendli made 30 saves in the loss.
Switzerland had a chance to tie the game in the third with a five on three power play that was neutralized by the Czech defence. Laura Zimmermann and Dominka Laskova collided as the power play ended – things looked scary for a moment but both players returned to the game. Katerina Mrazova nearly gave the Swiss a power play with a roughing call with only 3 minutes left in the game, but Stalder earned herself a matching roughing call by reacting to Mrazova.
The last two question marks get answered tonight. Go Canada go!