Gangneung: Dani Cameranesi observed on TV when the Americans blew a 2-0 lead with less than a minute left before losing the gold medal game to Canada four years ago at the Sochi Olympics. She applies the word “devastating” to total the 3-2 overtime loss. Now the Americans are back with another chance at the Olympic gold that has evaded them since they won it all in 1998, when women’s hockey made its first match at Nagano. And their arch-rival is in the way again. The showdown with Canada is Thursday and the Americans know perfectly what this moment means. Canada has won 24 successive Olympic games and four straight gold medals. Only the United States in basketball has ruled a women’s team sport more perfectly with a streak of six straight golds.
The Canadians have not lost even a single Olympic game right from the 1998 Nagano final — won by the United States. Their streak stands at 24 consecutive games, accounting a 2-1 win over the United States to cap pool play a week ago. They have also won five straight over the Americans incorporating four exhibition victories in December prepping for the Olympics.
Laura Schuler, Canada coach stated, “It’s awesome, on the world’s biggest stage, to have two powerhouses going for it at the end.” Still the Americans have gained the world championships, winning the last four and eight of the last 10. That has only made the US drought at the Olympics all the more remarkable and making this game even more special.
Cameranesi said, “It’s been something I’ve been dreaming about since I was little.” She said, “So it means a lot, and to be here with this group of girls and to be with them all year has really been an honour.” She is one among the 13 players on the US roster, who know the Sochi loss only as history, not something they lived through. Defence man Kacey Bellamy, among the 10 Americans who did, thinks the newcomers will be main in keeping the Canadians from a fifth straight gold medal.
Bellamy stated, “They don’t know the heartbreak.” He also said, “We’ve tried to explain to them what it felt like, but think it’s great that they haven’t felt that. And they bring us a lot of energy to the team, and we trust every single one of them.” Two-time US captain Meghan Duggan mentioned that the Americans looked at themselves in the mirror after the Sochi loss to understand what they needed to take away from it. She sees Sochi as a long time ago.
She mentioned that, “We’re focused on this Olympics.” He even stated, “It’s four years later. We got a new team. We got… a lot of youth, excitement, energy, fresh blood, and we’re ready to go.” Under US coach Robb Stauber, the Americans attentively have avoided looking at the big picture of chasing gold. Instead, they have targeted on the old cliche of one day, one practice, one shift on the ice at a time. They have also assured to enjoy the experience of being at the Winter Games more, too. Monique Lamoureux-Morando stated that the Americans tried to in-act like they had been there before in Sochi. This time around, they have made sure to enjoy the games as if this was their first Olympics. Lamoureux-Morando told, “There’s that balance of knowing when to shut it down, take it in and go see events and enjoy being a spectator at the Olympics.”
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