In the summer of 2009, I talked to one prominent college hockey coach, trying to gauge whether the Lamoureux twins could make Team USA for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
The coach’s response?
“They need them against Canada.”
The coach went on to explain that the Americans are talented enough to win against pretty much everyone, but that Canada brings a totally different challenge. Canada is tough, gritty and physical.
A lot of the American skill players cannot play that game. The Lamoureux twins can.
Needless to say, that coach was correct, and the Lamoureux twins did make Team USA in 2010.
That brings us to today. The Americans are once again competing for gold. If the game is not called tight, it will get physical. That’s what happened in the pool play game between the teams.
But surprisingly, the U.S. coaching staff played Monique Lamoureux just 12 minutes. Jocelyne played 15 minutes. They ranked eighth and ninth of 11 forwards in ice time in that game. If the game gets physical again, I don’t think we’ll see that again.
Although the twins haven’t seen as much ice time as they did in Vancouver, Monique leads the team in goals and Jocelyne leads the team in assists. And their line, along with former Wisconsin forward Meghan Duggan, could be a major key in today’s gold medal game.
A few key stats heading into today’s final:
- Canada has not allowed an even-strength goal this tournament. It allowed one even-strength goal in the 2010 Games and none in the 2006 games. That’s remarkable.
- The last time the U.S. scored an even-strength goal against Canada in the Olympics was in 1998 during pool play.
- The Lamoureux twins have not been on the ice for a goal against this tournament.
- Canada is expected to start Shannon Szabados in goal, the netminder who blanked the U.S. in the 2010 gold medal game. Charline Labonte was the goalie who beat the U.S. earlier this tournament, though.
- The U.S. virtually only played nine forwards against Canada the first time around. They perhaps wore out. The U.S. got outshot 12-3 in the third and gave up all three goals in the third. Watch the ice time for Julie Chu and Lyndsey Fry, and watch to see if the U.S. wears down in the third again.
- Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin is the women’s version of Jonathan Toews. She scored both goals in Canada’s 2-0 win in the gold medal game in Vancouver. She is dominant on draws and could be key for Canada in this one again.
- Warroad’s Gigi Marvin leads the team in ice time and shots on goal. She will become Warroad’s first two-time Olympic medal winner today.