The Canadian Women’s hockey team faced off against the United States in a gold medal match-up that was highly anticipated and made for a fantastic game to watch. The Canadian team pulled through the game for a highly contested, 3-2 win over the States, which was certainly a difficult battle that went down to the wire. So who were the key players in this game?
Marie-Philip Poulin: Captain clutch herself was certainly on display in this matchup, potting in two goals and an assist during the game, which gave Canada what they needed to win. Overall, Poulin has proven herself to be one of the best players in hockey, with some amazing skills and a great leadership presence. At 30 years of age, no one knows if Poulin will make it to the next winter Olympics, but her amazing skills will still be on display in the PWHPA with Montreal, and in other IIHF tournaments that are scheduled between now and the next Winter Olympics.
Sarah Nurse: Nurse scored the all-important first goal for Team Canada, as well as getting an assist on Poulin’s second goal. Nurse has served as a solid leader amongst the Canadian team and has shown her skill on many different occasions. In this game her stick handling was top-level, and her passing game was strong. Nurse has a decent playing career left in front of her and has really shown why we need more coverage of women’s hockey, as her skill is top-notch and it is a shame we don’t get to see it more often. Nurse also plays with the Toronto team in the PWHPA, where she is just as stellar on the ice as with Team Canada.
Ann-Renee Desbiens: Desbiens has been a stellar goalie for Team Canada over the years, and at just 27 years old she hopefully has a long career ahead of her in the net. Desbiens stopped 38 of 40 shots against, which places her at a .950 save percentage in the game, an enviable save percentage by any goalie. She also managed to pull a goals-against-average of just 1.65, which is better than most goalies in the NHL, proving that Desbiens is a truly elite-level goalie.
Hilary Knight: Not to leave out the American side in this game, Knight had a strong game on the night. Her stick handling was top notch and she was one of just two players who managed to slip the puck past Desbiens to give the American team some hope to get back into this game and really turn it into a battle of two great hockey countries. Knight plays alongside her fellow teammates and competitors with Minnesota in the PWHPL. Knight’s playing career may be coming to a close, but she has really been one of the big names in women’s hockey and is an inspiration for the next wave of women coming into the game.
As was mentioned earlier, this game has really highlighted how we need more women to be involved in the game, while also needing more broadcasters to cover the game throughout the entire year and not just when there is an Olympics. Overall these women have played extremely hard, and have done an amazing job in this tournament. For more hockey coverage, stick around on Overtime Heroics Hockey.