In the first of six pre-Olympic exhibition meetings, Canada beat the U.S. women’s hockey team 3-2 in Burlington, Vt., on Saturday night.
The Americans played a lackluster first two periods, but the intensity picked up in the third as they rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
With a little over three minutes left, American forward Monique Lamoureux collided with Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados. This was a true meeting of giants.
Lamoureux was the leading scorer at the 2012 World Championships. Szabados is Canada’s No. 1 goalie who has set records playing for a men’s team back in Canada.
Canadian defenseman Courtney Birchard took exception to the collision and ran down Lamoureux against the boards and down onto the ice. Lamoureux’s twin sister, Jocelyne, quickly came to her aid. More players joined.
Fists flew. So did helmets, gloves and sticks.
This is nothing new for the U.S.-Canada rivalry. They’ve played in all but one Olympic gold-medal game dating to its first edition in 1998. has won the last three.
“We had a similar scrap in 2010, so I guess we have one every Olympic cycle to get it out of our system,” Canadian four-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser told The Associated Press. “It was kind of fun to see, and it brought a lot of intensity to another dog fight with these guys. There are few if any blowouts in this series.”
The image of Szabados getting bowled over by Lamoureux, regardless of intention, brought to mind a similar incident at the 2007 World Championships. There, a Canadian player knocked down U.S. goalie Chanda Gunn.
The player was Gillian Apps, the all-time penalty minute leader in the National Women’s Hockey League whose grandfather, Syl Apps, won the NHL’s Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play in 1942 and competed in the pole vault for Canada at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.