Monday, April 05, 2004

Rivalry Renewed!

They’re known as the two hockey powers in Women’s hockey and Tuesday night in Halifax, they will renew acquaintances. For the seventh consecutive World Championship Canada and the United States will take the ice for the Gold Medal. And the house will be rockin’; the Metro Centre is completely sold out, all 10,000 seats spoken for. The highly anticipated Championship match up is just as the fans had hoped.

Like any match up between the two countries, it’s a dream event for TSN which has seen steady viewership of the games broadcast thus far. Tuesday night could very well set a record for TSN since it’s coverage of Women’s Hockey began.

The key for Canada will getting the Campbell line untracked, in the last two games they have been held off the board and left frustrated at their lack of production. Cassie Campbell, Hayley Wickenheiser and Danielle Goyette, finding themselves in a situation they are not that familiar with, an inability to put the puck in the net. For Canada to take the championship this top line will have to find a way to get it in gear. Goaltending will also be a major aspect of the final game, Kim St. Pierre who has had her problems with the Americans in the past, is expected to get the nod for Tuesday night.

Canada made it to the Final with a 7-1 win over Sweden Sunday, but definitely have the Americans on their mind. The last three match ups have gone the way of the USA, with the Americans winning most recently this past weekend with a 3-1 victory on Saturday. The American's have been coming on strong the last little while and can give Canada everything it wants in a Championship game.

The Americans welcomed back team leader Cammie Granato, who played in her first game today since recovering from a knee injury at the start of the tournament. And she arrives not a moment too soon, injuries are starting to take their toll on the American side with Shelley Looney, Krissy Wendell and Julie Chu all on the DL, only Chu is expected back in time for Tuesday’s game.

Expect a fast paced game with a bit of an edge; these two teams play each other quite frequently and have developed a rather intense rivalry. Canada has yet to lose a World Championship but each time it gets a little bit tougher. The US team would like nothing better than to take the title away from the Canadians, on their own ice, in front of their own fans and on their own television network.

If you need a little hockey to tide you over til the Stanley Cup playoffs get underway, then Tuesday night is your night. TSN has the call at 8pm AT. (7 ET and 4 PT) but expect to be up late, these two teams have a tendency to need Overtime to settle their disputes. As closely matched up as they are, extra time may be required once again.

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