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2022 Worlds Preview: Team Canada

It’s gold or bust for the defending world champions

Canada v United States: Gold Medal Game - 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

The defending champs are back and they’re hungry for more. After nearly a decade of second place finishes at Worlds, Team Canada is looking to get a streak started in Denmark. For this team, going home with anything other than the gold is going to be a disappointment.

Last Time Around

It was nothing but gold this past year for Team Canada. At the 2021 Worlds in Calgary, the Canadians didn’t lose a game. They were unbeaten from the preliminary round straight on through to the finals where they faced off against perennial rivals Team USA for the gold.

After a borderline confidence crushing 5-1 loss in the preliminary round, Team USA came back with a vengeance, keeping the game tied and sending it to overtime. In a moment that solidified her to hockey fans as “Captain Clutch” Marie-Philip Poulin scored the game winning 3-2 goal, just over seven minutes into overtime. It was the first time since 2012 that Canada won Worlds gold, having come second to Team USA for the better part of a decade.

The 2022 Olympics in Beijing was another chance at redemption. 2018 was a heartbreaker, having to settle for silver in Pyeongchang. Canada would not settle again, making it through the group round with a 4-0 record a whopping +28 goal differential. It was death, taxes and USA/CAN in the gold medal game. Canada would win gold 3-2. At times, it felt less like Canada was winning it, and more like Team USA was losing it.

Three players to watch

Sarah Nurse | Forward

Sarah Nurse set two scoring records at the 2022 Olympics. She scored more points (18) and had more assists (13) than any other women’s hockey player at any one single tournament.

Nurse has been a feature on the team since 2018, and with good reason. If Sarah Nurse has the puck, odds are, it’s going to lead to a scoring opportunity. She’s always been a player worth watching, but after the Olympics, she should be on everybody’s radar.

Sarah Fillier | Forward

At just 22 years old, Sarah Fillier is already being regarded as Team Canada’s star of the future. She made her senior team debut at last year’s Worlds and she immediately made an impact. Fillier scored three goals and had three assists in seven games, putting her tenth in tournament scoring as a rookie.

Marie-Philip Poulin isn’t slowing down any time soon, but when she passes the baton (if she passes the baton, let’s be real, if anyone is going to have a career that outlives us all, it’s her), she’s probably going to pass it to Sarah Fillier.

Marie-Philip Poulin | Forward

Obviously you should watch Marie-Philip Poulin. Everybody knows that you should watch Marie-Philip Poulin. She’s arguably one of the best to ever play the game and when a player like her comes along, you owe it to yourself to pay attention.

The captain scored 17 points in seven games at the Olympics, six of which were goals. If you want to see raw power and skill on ice, MPP is the player to keep your eyes on

Storyline

The Canadians are coming into this tournament as defending champions and they’re pretty much running it back. That’s nothing new. When they find something that works, they stick with it (usually for longer than they should). Canada doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to win here and everybody knows that.

At this moment in time, Canada’s roster is more than good enough to take another championship and that’s the expectation now, not the hope. Anything less than first for this team, might as well be last.

Schedule

All times are in ET

  • Aug. 25, 1 p.m. vs Finland
  • Aug. 27, 12:30 p.m. vs Switzerland
  • Aug. 28, 9 a.m. vs Japan
  • Aug. 30, 2 p.m. vs USA