US women’s hockey falls to rival Canada in first meeting at 2022 Olympics

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The game did not determine a medal, but it clearly still mattered.

The Canadian women’s hockey team edged the United States’ 4-2 Tuesday in the preliminary round of the Olympics. It was the first matchup between the two superpowers in Beijing, but likely will not be the last.

With group play finished, both countries will land the top two seeds, which will position them on opposite sides of the bracket and on a collision course for the final — again.

USA and Canada have clashed for the gold each of the last three Olympics, the most recent won by the Americans in a shootout in Pyeongchang.

Canada struck first in this year’s first edition of the great rivalry, and both sides have proven a bronze would qualify as a disaster. Entering the game, USA and Canada had combined to beat their other competition 47-5 in six games.

Both will see silver linings in the first tilt that truly mattered: The Canadians won, but the Americans outplayed them.

Team USA
Canada defeated the United States 4-2 in women’s hockey.
Getty Images

The Red, White and Blue dominated possession and outshot Canada 53-25, but did not get many fortunate bounces. Canadian goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens finished with 51 saves (including stopping the last 24 attempts from Team USA) and was the difference in the game.

The Americans dug out of an early hole, and second-period goals from Dani Cameranesi (off a rebound) and Alex Carpenter (on a smooth backhand) gave them a 2-1 lead that would prove brief.

Olympics
Canada defeated the US 4-2 in the preliminary round.
Getty Images

Twenty-six seconds later, Canada’s Brianne Jenner responded with her second goal to tie it, and the Canadians poured it on from there, scoring on three of four shots and taking a 4-2 lead into the third period.

The Americans had two power plays in the final period — including a 6-on-4 in the final minutes, with the goalie pulled — but couldn’t find the net. The Americans finished just 1-for-6 on the power play.

Too often, they could not finish. Fortunately for the Americans, this matchup probably is not finished.

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