It’s hard to believe the women’s hockey tournament at the 2022 Olympics is down to just the medal games. But here we are with just the final four left.
We gathered round ye olde TIG roundtable to give our predictions as to who will win, plus a chance for you to vote for the winner of the gold medal game.
Gold: Team Canada was my pick before the tournament and they’re my pick before the puck drops on the gold medal game. In my opinion, they have the best goalie in the tournament and the best group of forwards in the tournament. Their offense continued to thrive when Mel Daoust was sidelined and now that she’s back Team USA should be very nervous going into the gold medal game without Brianna Decker. I know USA out-played Canada in the group stage meeting, but Canada did find a way to win. I think they do the same with everything on the line.
Canada wins, 4-2.
Bronze: I like Finland to win bronze. They definitely stumbled out of the block in the preliminary round but have really turned things around over the last few games. Furthermore, I think Finland’s familiarity with Lara Stalder will come into play here. A significant number of the Finnish national team ply their trade in the SDHL, so they know all about Stalder and how dangerous she is, especially on the PP. Overall, I think the Finns simply have the better supporting cast around their stars. That depth will prove to be the difference in this one.
Finland wins, 3-2.
Gold: Far and away, I feel like this medal is Canada’s to lose. The Canadians have been so dominant this entire tournament, from pool play to the knockout round, and I feel like they will stop at nothing to take home Olympic gold. It’s not even a matter of how they’ll get there, it’s a matter of how many goals they’ll put past the American goaltender in the final game. This team has been setting records left and right, from the fastest four goals to the most goals ever scored by a women’s hockey team in an Olympic tournament, so I’m sure a fifth gold medal would be more than feasible.
Canada wins, 5-3.
Bronze: I’m going to be the contrarian here and say I think the Swiss will pull out an upset over the Finns in the bronze medal game. They’ve suffered a lot this tournament at the hands of the North American giants, but through it all, Lara Stalder and Alina Müller have been two constant scoring threats for Team Switzerland. I don’t see those two hitting the brakes any time soon, and I think they’re going to make it tough for Finland to skate over them.
Switzerland wins, 3-2 (OT).
Gold: What Canada has done these last two weeks is truly special. They’ve exemplified a level of dominance never seen at the Olympics. Depth, teamwork, and individual performance – they have it all going for them.
To say “they want it more” is moot; everyone wants it every year. But there is something to be said for the exceptional measures the Canadians have taken to get here. Adversity is a key ingredient in manufacturing winning teams. Though this team faced little adversity in their games, they have faced roadblocks at every stage of the process. There were cancelled tournaments and seasons; months bubbled together in Calgary away from their families; training sessions and games in n-95 masks. Canada has gone to every length to ensure nothing prevented them from getting here. They won’t let it get away now.
Canada wins, 5-2
Bronze: The Finns have found their footing at precisely the right time. They faced the tall task of beginning the tournament with games against the USA and Canada in which they did not fare well. In a close loss to the Swiss, they started to have some success before really finding their groove against the ROC and Japan. After an expected semi-final loss, Finland will come into the bronze medal game to defend their title. They have the big-game experience and offensive weapons to get it right when it counts.
Finland wins, 4-1
Gold: There has never been a doubt in my mind that Canada would take the gold medal this year. However, USA has a funny way of always keeping you just enough on your toes to prove you wrong. They both want it, they both can win it, but Canada hasn’t faltered once this tournament while the United States has had some trouble finding the net and worrisome moments. Without Decker to look to for the big plays, it’s just that much harder for them. As always, it’s going to be a good fight but I think Canada will take this one 3-2...in overtime...because chaos.
Bronze: Much like the others before me have said, Finland was looking very lackluster in the beginning of the tournament, enough so that I was worried they may not even make it to the medal games. However, they have picked up their pace enough to land them where they usually land, in the bronze medal game. The Swiss are nothing to sleep on though, and if you’re looking for a reason to see that there is in fact parity in women’s Olympic hockey, this is your game. Switzerland wins in my book, a close call, but 4-3.
Who will win the Gold Medal Game?
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