Sure, it was just a group-play match between the United States and Canada in women’s hockey at the Winter Olympics on Thursday in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
But intensity still ran high between the archrivals, culminating in the final frantic seconds in which the Americans tried to push across a goal. Then tempers flared.
Oh yeah, Canada hung on to win, 2-1. Both teams advanced to the semifinals.
The two North American neighbors are the giants of international women’s hockey. However, their Olympics history is a tad one-sided. After the Americans captured the first gold medal in 1998, Canada has won the last four. Thursday’s win gave Canada its fifth straight victory of late over Team USA.
Kendall Coyne scored the only U.S. goal early in the third period to cut Canada’s lead to 2-1. The U.S. outshot Canada 45-22 in another Olympic showing of offensive opportunities lost. But Canada goaltender Genevieve Lacasse had a part in that, with several key saves. She stopped a penalty shot by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson in the second period.
The game ended with a determined effort by the U.S. to score but the Americans came up short. Not surprisingly, a scuffle broke out because, well, it’s U.S.-Canada.
The teams are heavy favorites to meet again in the final.
“Those are the fun ones,” U.S. forward Amanda Kessel said. “It’s what you live for. The intensity is there every single shift. You can’t take a second off.”