As always, the notes are chronological (save for the first one), and this isn’t a recap. Here’s what stood out to me during that great game:
Depending on who you root for, that was one of the best/worst games ever played. Congrats to Marie-Philip Poulin on the success.
Tara Watchorn of Team Canada reminds me so much of Chris Pronger I can’t get over it (which is a huge, huge compliment). Players like Pronger (and Zdeno Chara) play in a way that makes people hate competing against them. Opponents would rather change, rather come down the other side of the ice, rather do anything else than engage them…because they’re mean. Which is good. They’re talented too, but they’re mean. They have zero intention of making friends on the ice. Watchorn could care less, and would be zero fun to play because of that. You like having that on your team (as long as they don’t take endless penalties).
Canada’s powerplay should always be set up the way Washington’s is for Ovechkin, but for Meghan Agosta-Marciano. And, the US should do their best to set up Bozek. One thing the women’s game can’t claim to have that the men’s does is the heavy shots (which actually makes it better to watch, because they try to make more low plays around the net instead of playing shoot-n-hope), but Agosta-Marciano and Bozek are exceptions. Being that shots like theirs are so rare, they could catch a lot of goaltenders off-guard.
Apparently because it’s governed by the IIHF, women’s goaltending gear isn’t subject to the NHL’s stringent “small as possible” rules, and man, does it show. Both the American and Canadian goaltender are great players that appeared to be wearing sumo suits under Sean Burke’s old equipment. Can’t believe how agile and sharp they were in all that gear.
There’s nothing worse that a person who doesn’t follow a sport much who watches it a few times and decides what needs to be changed, but…remind me why women’s hockey doesn’t allow bodychecking, again? On Tara Watchorn’s first penalty, a woman chipped a puck by her and she rubbed her into the boards to eliminate the threat. Great body position, great play…Two minutes. The hell are her other options there? Yell “Hey you, don’t, stop?” It’s brutal.
There was a moment in the second period where the Americans were shorthanded and took another penalty. The Canadians had the puck and…passed it around the perimeter for 30 seconds? I assume people know this, but goodness – a 5-on-3 is roughly 3,596,000 times easier to score on than a 5-on-4 (rough math). Give the opposition the puck, IMMEDIATELY. Always. Get the whistle. No debate here.
The American women played beautifully through 58 minutes, including the first lucky Canadian goal. They were responsible with the puck, made safe decisions with the lead, and were set up to take the game handily in regulation. But this is what’s fun about the human factor of sports. Some people mock the idea momentum, or dismiss pressure, but in huge moments like we saw late in the game, it’s not hard to see how people are situationally effected.
The biggest play of the game might’ve been the ref picking the Canadian player and not allowing her to keep the puck in the zone with 90 seconds left, the puck going down the ice, and hitting the gosh-darn post. First: have some intuition, liney – that’s where the puck is going in that situation, every time. What a mess. Second, holy hell, a cross-ice shot hit the post and the Canadians scored after? What. A mess.
Natalie Spooner is one of the best skaters (with the puck) I’ve ever seen. Phil Kessel’s in that convo too. She had some great rushes late in regulation, and one in OT.
It sucks that reffing was involved in how the game ended, but man – what a terrible slashing call on the US in overtime. They had to make the call on Wickenheiser’s full-ice breakaway, but that slashing call changed the course of the game. Hell, it changed women’s hockey history.
Reffing aside… that was just some thrilling hockey. Both teams deserved it. A cross-ice shot that hit a post and a couple calls made the difference. You gotta be good to be lucky, you gotta be lucky to be good.