Off a 9-0 victory against Cuba on Sunday, the US Women’s team earned the right to play Canada, the second place team from Pool A at the Pan Am games. The US finished the quarter finals undefeated, as has Argentina in Pool A. Canada has one loss, against Argentina. Argentina will play Chile whose one loss is with the United States in Pool B.
The Pan Am championship is an automatic qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics next year. Argentina by virtue of its ranking and performance in the pro-league already has a ticket. So for Canada and the US this is the most direct path to Tokyo.
Looking at the stats in this tournament and at the rosters, the obvious difference is the Canadian team’s experience. Twelve of their players have 100 caps or more, the US has only 3. The most experienced US player has 170 caps. However, Canada’s average age is very close. Two US players got their experience as teenagers. In fact MacKensie Allessie, who has yet to play a college game is second in scoring for the tournament with six goals to her credit. Canada’s leading scorer is Sara McManus with 5 goals, 3 from the field and 2 penalty corners.
Significantly , scoring has been spread around the US team and one of the US’s advantages is their ability to score from anywhere on the field. Canada has scored 24 goals, two on penalty strokes, 9 on corners, and 13 from the field. The US has 26 goals, 1 penalty stroke, 11 penalty corners, and 14 from the field.
The US is ranked 13 and Canada 18 in the world. Games between these two hockey rivals have been contentious and battles are right to the end. The stakes are high as both teams are looking for that precious Olympic spot. No doubt coach Schopman, the US Coach would like to see a faster start for the US team given their late game rallies in the previous games. Game time is 6:15 Tuesday but it will not be televised. The championship game will be Friday evening and will be on one of the ESPN channels.