Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada vs. U.S. in gold final again as eternal rivals seek women's title

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OTTAWA -- Canada won last year's women's world hockey championship on American ice, so the United States would like nothing more than to win it in Canada.

The two countries will extend their streak of playing each other for world championship gold to 15 times Tuesday at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place.

Canada edged the Americans 5-4 in overtime to take the gold in Burlington, Vt., last year. The U.S. had beaten them in three previous world championship finals.

Canada has outscored its opposition 32-3 and the U.S. 14-5 heading into this year's championship game.

Canada's head coach Dan Church downplayed his team's scores during the tournament and simply asked his players to up their performance each game.

"I'm looking forward to seeing our best game of the tournament," Church said.

The defending champions downed Russia 8-1 in Monday's semifinal. The Americans were held scoreless for 53 minutes before beating Finland in the other semifinal.

Marie-Philip Poulin led Canada with a pair of goals in front of 7,255. The hosts also got scoring from Haley Irwin, Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield, Meghan Agosta-Marciano, Rebecca Johnston and Jayna Hefford.

Shannon Szabados made 18 saves for the win. Canada's starter in every final since the 2010 Winter Olympics is expected to be back in net for the final.

It wouldn't surprising if U.S. goaltender Jessie Vetter also played her second game in as many days, which would make it a battle of goaltenders from the 2010 Olympic final.

The hosts opened the 2013 world championship with a 3-2 shootout win over the U.S. despite trailing them 2-0 into the third period.

Canada paid a price for that win as captain Hayley Wickenheiser sat out the next two games with a back injury and assistant captain Caroline Ouellette was scratched for a game with an upper-body injury.

"We dominated the play for 50 minutes and gave up 10 and look where it ended up, in a shootout," U.S. forward Hilary Knight said.

"If we just take care of the puck do the little things, grind them out, be disciplined, I think we have all the talent we need in the locker-room right now."

These two countries have met in every world and Olympic women's final with the exception of the 2006 Winter Olympics, when Sweden upset the Americans in the semifinal.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 9, 2013 D6

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Updated on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM CDT: adds fact box

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