USA, Canada battle for gold at Women's World Championship

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USA, Canada battle for gold at Women's World Championship
USA, Canada battle for gold at Women's World Championship

Less than a week ago, we made the bold prediction the United States and Canada would meet in the gold medal game of the Women's World Championship. 

As the fates would have it, the top two women's hockey powerhouses will play for the gold tonight. 

So who is going to take home the prize?

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Could it be the reigning World Champions, the United States? Since 2004, the Americans have taken home the gold six out of nine times they've played for it. Or how about the host Canadians? The tournament started in 1990, and Hockey Canada has captured the gold 10 out of 16 chances.

It's always a great, tense, emotional game when the Americans and Canadians hit the ice. Here's the need to know information for tonight's battle for non-Olympic bragging rights. 

Associated Press
Associated Press

WHO: Team USA vs. Hockey Canada

WHAT: Women's World Championship

WHEN: Monday, April 4 at 7:30pm PT (10:30pm ET)

WHERE: Kamloops, British Columbia

HOW TO WATCH: In United States - tune in to NHL Network. In Canada - check local listings for TSN broadcast. Unfortunately, there is no (legal) live stream of the game in the US. Canadians can watch online if they subscribe to TSN.

ROAD TO THE GOLD MEDAL GAME

USA (4-0-0)

 

CANADA (3-1-0)

USA

3

CAN

1

Group Play

 

USA

3

CAN

1

Group Play

FIN

1

USA

2

Group Play

 

CAN

8

RUS

1

Group Play

USA

8

RUS

0

Group Play

 

CAN

6

FIN

1

Group Play

USA

9

RUS

0

Semi-Final

 

CAN

5

FIN

3

Semi-Final

- - - - - - -

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE AMERICAN SQUAD:

1) Hilary Knight's offensive dominance. She leads the tournament with 9 points in 4 games, and is first overall with 7 goals. She does most of her damage at even strength, where she has 5 goals and 1 assist.

2) Stifling defense. The United States has held opponents to a tournament low 63 shots on goal, and only allowed 3 goals against in their four games played. 

3) Staying out of the box. The Americans are the least penalized team in the eight-team tournament. They've had eight penalties called against them in four games; allowing only 1 power play goal against. This discipline will be key against the tournament best power play Canadians.

4) TWIN POWER! The Lamoureux twins have had a stellar tournament. At center, Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson has lost only eight faceoffs out of 33 opportunities (80.5%) throughout her four games played. Like Knight, her offensive power comes at even strength with 3 goals and 3 assists. Monique Lamoureux continues to adjust to her transition from forward to defense. Monique ties her sister with 7 points in the tournament, and is the highest scoring defenseman.

5) They beat Canada 3-1 in the first game of the tournament. The game was held scoreless until the third period. The Canadians scored first, and the US completed the comeback. The US are the reigning champs, and have held the World's title for two tournaments now.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM USA vs. CANADA - ROUND 1

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE CANADIANS 

1) Natalie Spooner heating up. One thing the Americans should be very scared of is Spooner finding her rhythm. In the semi-final game against Finland, she had 4 points after earning only 2 assists in the first three games. All three of Spooner's goals came on special teams: 1 power play goal, 1 short handed goal, and 1 shorty into an empty net.

2) No. 1 power play. The Canadians are tied with the Russians and Czechs for the least amount of power play opportunities at 17. Yet, the Canadians took advantage of their opportunities clicking at 35.3%. The six power play goals from the team were scored by six different skaters.

3) Beware of Marie-Philip Poulin. The offensive dynamo has been relatively quiet - for MPP - when it comes to goal scoring In four games, Captain Canada has six points, and only 2 of those points are goals. All we're saying is she's due, and she happens to specialize in killing American dreams.

4) Who gets the nod in net? As of publication, Hockey Canada has not announced who will be starting in goal. In Game 1, Emerance Maschmeyer - making her national team debut on the ice - was outstanding against the United States, but didn't get the decision. She won her next game, allowing only 1 goal. The Canadians have the option of going with hockey legend Charline Labonte. She was 2-0-0 in her two games.

5) Hometown advantage. While American hockey fans refuse to acknowledge anything that happened in Vancouver, B.C. at the international level, the Canadians are quick to remind how they've fared with hometown support. Canadians, players and citizens alike, would love to see their women get revenge for Game 1 and rip the medal out of the defending champs hands.

- - - - - - -

Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.

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