If there’s one thing consistent about women’s hockey, it’s a gold medal game between USA and Canada. And thus we find ourselves here again at the 2022 U18 World Championships.
How to watch
Where: LaBahn Arena, Madison, WI
When: 8:30 p.m. et
How: USA - NHL Network, Canada - TSN3
How each team got here
The Americans rolled through the preliminaries, going undefeated and finishing at the top of Group A. They only gave up a single goal while scoring 18 goals. Those 18 goals came from ten different players to boot. To put it simply, they were absolutely dominant.
Their preliminary finish gave them a bye straight to the semifinal round where they met Sweden in a Group A rematch. It wasn’t as easy of a game this time though. They struck first with Sydney Morrow scoring her first of the tournament midway through the first period. But Sweden stormed back in the second period, taking advantage of the US’s parade to the penalty box (they had seven penalties called on them in the period), scoring two goals - one on the power play. The US came back out for the first and scored quickly to even it up and eventually the game-winning goal to survive their biggest scare of the tournament so far.
The Canadians really struggled in the preliminary round, barely finishing in third place. The only one of their three games and only scored three goals - both of which were in their second game of the tournament against Sweden. They also gave up 10 goals, the second-highest amount of all eight teams. Their worst outing was by far the game against the US where they lost 7-0, - something to look out for in this gold medal game for sure.
Their third-place finish sent them to the quarterfinals where they played Group B’s Slovakia. They more than doubled their goals scored in that game alone, putting up a giant seven spot on a Slovakian team who had only given up two goals thus far in the tournament.
They took that energy and cruised in the semifinal against Finland, where they avenged their preliminary loss by winning 2-1 in a pretty dominant fashion. They controlled the play for a large amount of the game.
Players to watch
Sydney Morrow, D | USA
Morrow, who will be playing the next chapter of her hockey career at the Ohio State University, has been a driving force behind Team USA’s imposing offense. Through 5 GP, she has 5 primary points to go along with 3 secondary assists, making her the highest-scoring defender in the tournament. It’s rare to see defenders capable of making this kind of impact in the offensive zone at this stage of their development, which is why Morrow is turning heads and will continue to do the same in the gold medal game.
Morrow had two assists in Team USA’s 7-0 win over Canada in the group stage, one of which was earned on the PP. If Canada takes too many trips to the box, Morrow will be looking to punish them on the advantage as USA’s all-situation blue line star.
Jade Iginla, F | Canada
Iginla was sidelined with an injury when these teams met in the group stage, which is something both teams will have on their minds in the gold medal game.
Heading into the tournament, Iginla was projected as a lock for Canada’s top line. Since she’s returned to the team, she has two points in two games and has added another dimension to Canada’s attack. The Brown-bound forward is a difference-maker whenever she’s on the ice and will be expected to create chances at evens. Watch for her to make an impact in the biggest game of her hockey career to date.