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US And Canada Women Meet For Gold

by Steve Goldstein / Florida Panthers

In what is the least surprising development of the Olympics, the United States and Canada women's teams will play for the gold medal on Thursday. They clearly are the two best teams in the world and the Winter Games here in Sochi, Russia have proved that.

Team USA is 3-1 in Olympic play heading into the gold medal game, with the only loss coming to Canada last week by a 3-2 final. In their three wins, the Americans have outscored their opponents by a combined 18-2. They outscored Sweden 6-1 in the semifinals as they outshot the Swedes 70-9 to get to the gold medal game. One of the stars has been Amanda Kessel, the sister of Toronto Maple Leaf and team USA men's star Phil Kessel. The other NHL link on the US team is winger Alex Carpenter. Her father Bobby was the first American to score 50 goals in a season in the NHL. He was also on the 1995 New Jersey Devils team that won the Stanley Cup.

The United States is coached by Katey Stone, who is the head coach at Harvard University. The team also features twin stars...literally! Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux play on the same line and are dynamic offensive players. Canada has won the gold in three straight Winter Games after losing to the US in Nagano in 1998. That includes a 2-0 gold medal game victory in 2010 in Vancouver. Former Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen is Canada's head coach.

The two teams openly dislike one another and this is a rivalry that is so heated the two teams brawled twice during games leading up to the Olympics. The gold medal game is Sochi should be a doozy.

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