Talk your shit, Natalie Spooner.
Before the gold medal match against Team USA, the two-time world champion and five-time world silver medalist from Canada did not pretend the rivalry was one of mutual respect.
Spooner may have a losing record against Team USA in the biggest games (she’s now 2-1 in Olympic gold medal games with that 2-5 mark at world championships), but Canada made its statement and the Americans didn’t belong on the same ice with them in a 3-2 game that wasn’t exactly close, as Amanda Kessel scored with just 12.5 seconds left for Team USA’s consolation.
It was clear during the Olympic tournament that this Canadian team was a lot better as they averaged nine goals per game in the final. They were defeated by the Americans in round-robin play, 53-27, but still won that game 4-2. They couldn’t stop scoring.
However, an offside review could arise when Spooner blasted home what appeared to be the first goal of the game on a bounce from right in front of the net. When the Americans got the incredible breakthrough of that goal being wiped out, only to have Sarah Nurse make the 1-0 Canada in under a minute, you kind of knew what kind of night it was going to be. And that’s no shame, because Canada was really that good.
Marie-Philip Poulin scored before the end of the first period, again in the middle of the second, and while Hilary Knight got Team USA on the board with a short goal before the second break, a power play failed in the middle of the third period. pretty well ended any hopes of a miraculous comeback.
If Hannah Brandt had gotten a bouncing puck into the Canadian net for the opening goal, instead of hitting the side of the cage, things might have turned out differently.
But probably not. This didn’t feel like Jessie Armstead’s pick-six was being recalled Super Bowl XXXV before the Ravens blew the doors of the Giants. Canada was inevitable, and has been for two weeks, also because they put on masks to dominate the Russian team, 6-1, amid a COVID scare.
Canada left no doubt about it, which is much more than can be said of an American team whose powerplay, despite an astonishing amount of talent, did not last through the entire tournament. The rivalry always goes on, but the US now has to wait four years for another chance to prove that they belong on the same ice as the Canadians.