ALSO ON SLAM!
Sunday, March 14, 1999
Canada 3 United States 1
Canada gets revenge
The Canadian women's hockey team is celebrating today and putting its 1998 Olympic loss to the United States behind them after a 3-1 win over the Americans on Sunday for another world championship.
Make that five in a row and a perfect 25-0 record in world tournaments.
"It was awesome," centre Vicky Sunohara said of winning gold again. "It was a great game.
"In the third period, we played like I've never seen us play before. Everybody, veterans and rookies, deserves this because everybody was on fire. Every piece of the puzzle was there."
The puzzle was fairly scrambled after the Olympic setback. Coming into this tournament, coach Daniele Sauvageau insisted on playing down any revenge factor.
But the loss of the Olympic gold medal remained in the back of every player's mind.
"It was on purpose that we didn't want that shadow coming into this world championship," Sauvageau explained. "But to get rid of that, deep down inside, we knew we needed to come back as No. 1.
"That was the goal: to get rid of Nagano, especially for some players who hurt very badly by that. I was there. I remember very clearly that day. But now I think that this day will be one to remember."
Sami Jo Small's fabulous goaltending, great team defence, outstanding forechecking, and goals by rookie Caroline Ouellette and veterans Danielle Goyette and Geraldine Heaney made it happen. Jenny Schmidgall had given the Americans a 1-0 lead.
"Canada really did a great job of battling back after that first goal," said U.S. goalie Erin Whitten.
"They had a lot at stake from what we had done to them at the Olympics," said Team USA captain Cammi Granato. "Sami Jo Small was there for every shot we had.
"We had some great scoring chances but she really stood her ground and didn't give much up. If you can't score, you're not going to win."
The game was tied 1-1 at the second intermission and then Canada pulled away. Goyette's power-play goal 25 seconds into the third period created a Canadian surge that could not be halted.
"That power-play goal made a huge difference," said Whitten.
"We were excited to be playing for our country and are thoughts were, 'Don't leave anything in the tank. Just keep going and empty it.' That's what we did," said Canadian defender Cheryl Pounder. "We're going back with gold and it's pretty exciting."
Small and teammates Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford were selected to the tournament's first all-star team. Hefford led all Canadians in scoring with nine points.
"We all come from different parts of the country but when we came together we really gelled," said Small, who was named to the first all-star team at her first worlds.
France St-Louis and Geraldine Heaney are the only two in the lineup to have been on all five world winners. St-Louis, 40, announced her retirement. Heaney, 31, will play on.
"Both teams are really close," Heaney said of the hot Canadian-U.S. rivalry. "Both the Olympic game and this game were close.
"It just comes down to which team is more prepared at the moment. We were down a goal but we just kept going. This was the first time we were ranked second so there wasn't as much pressure. It was have fun and just go out and play the game."
Wickenheiser won her third world title at the age of 20. She's the best power forward in the world and will be a big part of the Canadian team for years to come.
"It's nice to come back from last year and beat the U.S.," she said. "We played a solid game and deserved to win.
"It's very satisfying. Nagano is something you can never really forget and for a lot of the players on the team that was a bitter feeling. This year, to stand there and here O Canada, it was very exciting. We know there's a lot of work ahead towards the next Olympics now but we'll take this one and be very happy about it."
Said Hefford: "Everybody in the room feels proud to be a Canadian right now. To stand on the blue line and hear your anthem is the best feeling in the world."
Second Period--1, United States, Schmidgall (King), 9:09. 2, Canada, Ouellette (Hefford), 11:53.
Third Period--3, Canada, Goyette (Wickenheiser, Drolet), :25 (pp). 4, Canada, Heaney (Drolet), 2:47.
Shots on goal--Canada 6-14-10--30. United States 11-8-8--27.
Goalies--Canada, Small. United States, Whitten. A--5,247.