After her Gophers’ 6-2 NCAA final win over Harvard, Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said that she hadn’t found a team yet that could stop her top line of Krissy Wendell, Natalie Darwitz and Kelly Stephens.
This Saturday, she might find one — the Canadian national team. Though the triumphant trio is now wearing red, white, and blue instead of maroon and gold, they have already accounted for five goals through two preliminary games of the tournament — a 9-1 U.S. win over Switzerland and an 8-0 win over Russia.
Now on Saturday comes the challenge of Team Canada, undefeated in every World Championship contested (although each nation has won a single Olympic tournament). Assuming both Canada and U.S. beat Sweden in the three-team round robin later in the week, Saturday’s game will only be an exhibition for Gold Medal game, which will match up the top two teams in the round-robin.
One thing that the U.S., Canada, and Sweden all have in common? U.S. college experience, though it varies from team to team. U.S. collegiate alumni include all 20 American players, eight Canadians (counting goaltender Sami Jo Small, who played for the Stanford men’s club team), and two Swedes.
A U.S. college alum holds or shares the team lead for scoring for all three teams after the preliminary round: Jennifer Botterill (Harvard, Canada), Angela Ruggiero (Harvard, U.S.) and Maria Rooth (Minnesota-Duluth, Sweden). All three played in the 2003 NCAA final, an epic 4-3 double-overtime UMD win over Harvard.
The U.S. alums have accounted for eight of 24 Canadian goals, and all 17 U.S. goals so far. U.S. graduates from the past four years alone have accounted for 13 of the 17 U.S. goals.
That said, the goals that matter most are still to come.
Final-Round Players with U.S. Collegiate Experience
(alumni by class year)
Brown (4) – Pam Dreyer ’03, Kim Insalaco ’03, Kathleen Kauth ’01, Katie King ’97
Minnesota (3) – Natalie Darwitz, Krissy Wendell, Kelly Stephens
Harvard (2) – Julie Chu, Angela Ruggiero
Minnesota-Duluth (2) – Jenny Potter, Julianne Vasichek
Northeastern (2) – Chanda Gunn, Shelley Looney ’94
Providence (2) – Kelli Halcisak, Cammi Granato ’93
Wisconsin (2) – Molly Engstrom, Kerry Weiland ’03
Dartmouth – Katie King ’02
New Hampshire – Tricia Dunn ’96
Princeton – Andrea Kilbourne ’03
Dartmouth (2) – Gillian Apps, Cherie Piper
Harvard – Jennifer Botterill ’03
Brown – Becky Kellar ’97
Cornell – Dana Antal ’97
Minnesota-Duluth – Caroline Ouellette
Northeastern – Vicky Sunohara ’89
Stanford – Sami Jo Small ’97
St. Lawrence – Gina Kingsbury
Minnesota-Duluth – Erika Holst .03, Maria Rooth .03
Former teammates facing off:
Harvard – Botterill (Canada) vs. Ruggiero, Chu (U.S.)
Minnesota-Duluth – Ouellette (Canada) vs. Potter (U.S.) vs. Holst, Rooth
Brown – Kellar (Canada) vs. King (U.S.)
All final round games will be broadcast over the web via www.whrb.org, and the gold medal game will be broadcast over the Web and over the air at 95.3 FM in the Boston area.
All U.S. final round games will be broadcast over the web via www.usahockey.com
All Canadian final round games will be televised on TSN.