Toronto Mike

Canada vs USA: One of the Greatest Rivalries in Sports

There are many great rivalries in the world of  sports but the ones that always manage to capture the excitement of the  fans are those that take place at the pinnacle of the sport. In almost all  sports, the international field of play is considered to be the ultimate state  of the game, with nations pitted against each other to see which has developed  the very best group of players in the world.

In men’s hockey, Canada dominates. Canadians dominate the  elite-level group of players in the NHL and tend to overwhelm on the  international stage when their best players are allowed to attend events. Over  in women’s hockey, Canada is also a dominant force, but their close neighbours  down south have managed to best the Canadians on numerous occasions – creating  an epic sporting rivalry over the decades.

The rivalry between Canada and the USA has produced 139  titillating matchups, in which both sides have gone all-out to defeat their  close rivals. Being two very strong teams with good funding in the sport, they  have been able to stay toe-to-toe with each other on many huge occasions, such  as Olympic finals.

Team USA ends Canada's 16-year gold medal reign in women’s ice hockey— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) February 22, 2018

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics provided some  incredible games on the ice but, ultimately, it all came down to Canada meeting  the USA in the final once again. Having defeated USA in Group A, Canada was  confident going into the game, but a USA comeback in the third left the teams  at 2-2, which lasted until the shootout. The USA  won the shootout for their first gold medal in the event for 20 years.

The USA snapped a five-game win-streak that Canada had held  over them coming into the final, adding even more intrigue to the next matchup.  On November 7, 2018, Canada and USA will meet in the 2018 4 Nations Cup to  compete for the gold medal that the USA has won three years running.

The two seem to be able to trade periods of dominance, with  Canada, historically, being the better side. Despite this dominance, it Is  still extremely hard to take your pick between the two, with many people opting  for strategies used by punters to make accurate  predictions based on form and past events. The tournament will be taking  place in Saskatoon, Canada, giving them the slight edge. But, then again, USA  has been remarkably dominant in the competition, winning six of the last ten  tournaments – Canada taking the other four. The score lines have been close  since the 2017 4 Nations Cup, so an Asian handicap may not be the best way to  go when trying to pick a winner.

#OnThisDay #BCSportHistory February 28, 2010 #JeromeIginla passes to #SidneyCrosby who scores on team USA & clinches gold at the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament - Canada’s 14th of the Games - setting the record for most gold medals won by a nation at a single Winter Olympics.— BC Sports HallofFame (@BCSportsHall) February 28, 2019

The rivalry first began on April 21, 1987, when the two met  in the preliminaries for the inaugural World Women’s Hockey Tournament. Canada  edged the proceedings 2-1 and went on a four-game winning streak against the  USA, spanning the 1990, 1992, and 1994 IIHF World Championships. Then, in 1995,  USA finally drew blood by beating Canada a whopping 5-2 in the IIHF Pacific Rim  Championship in 1995. USA’s win came at the San Jose Ice Center, which is the  NHL’s San Jose Sharks’ training facility.

Over the years that followed, in major tournaments and  major international tournaments, Canada and USA exchanged wins, with the Canadians  coming out on top more often than not. But, then came Canada vs USA Series  2001-02. The series would bookend three TSN Challenge exhibition events,  creating a string of eight matchups over two years – all of which the USA won  in regulation. A combined score of 31-13 in favour of the USA hinted at a new  age of USA dominance.

However, when the two met at the 2002 Winter Olympics in  the USA, Canada reverted to its dominant self and dished out a 3-2 beating to  earn them gold against the USA in the final.

Games are often close between the two rivals but  Canada does boast the biggest win of the rivalry, with an 8-0 thrashing of the  USA on April 17, 1992, in the IIHF World Championships. But, then again, the  USA boasts the longest period of dominance with a seven-game win streak.

Overall, Canada boasts 62 wins in regulation, 11 overtime  wins, and six shootout wins against the USA. The USA only has 44 wins against  their northern neighbours, with a further six overtime wins and nine shootout  wins. Only once has a match between the two ended in a stalemate – way back in  the 2003 4 Nations Cup preliminaries, ending 1-1.

When it comes down to the biggest events, the gold medal  matches, Sports Illustrated tallies  the score as 3-2 in favour of Canada. The USA won the first gold medal  matchup in 1998 3-1 but Canada followed up with three wins on the trot in  2002, 2010, and 2014. Proving that the rivalry is still very much alive, USA  thrillingly claimed the 2018 gold.

The Canada vs USA rivalry in hockey stands as not only one  of the greatest rivalries in women’s sports but in the whole of sports. The two  continue to go all-out to get one up on their neighbours in the heated game of  hockey.

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