The 17th World Women’s Hockey Championship final will be a U.S.-Canada affair, just as it was the previous 16 times.
The rivals advanced to Monday’s gold-medal game (NHL Network, 10:30 p.m. ET) via semifinal wins Sunday night. The U.S. blanked Russia 9-0, while Canada held off Finland 5-3 in Kamloops, British Columbia.
“This is maybe the best game of the tournament we’ve played,” said U.S. coach Ken Klee, a retired, 14-year NHL defenseman.
The U.S. outscored its four opponents in Kamloops 22-2, including a 3-1 win over Canada last Monday. Canada has gone 3-0 with a 19-5 goal margin in its three games since the opening-night loss to the Americans.
Canada has won 10 of the 16 World titles, but the U.S. captured six of the last seven. Still, in that stretch, Canada won the last three Olympic gold medals.
The U.S. roster in Kamloops is led by Olympic silver medalists Hilary Knight (tournament-leading seven goals), Meghan Duggan, Brianna Decker and twins Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux.
Longtime goalie Jessie Vetter started one of the first four games, splitting time with two others in net.
Canada’s roster includes the greatest women’s player of all time — defenseman Hayley Wickenheiser, who has played in every Olympic women’s hockey tournament starting in 1998.
Plus forward Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored four of Canada’s five goals in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic final victories over the U.S.