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US to face Canada in women’s world ice hockey final

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They might be close neighbors geographically but the bitter rivalry between the US and Canada has defined women’s ice hockey for the last three decades.

And another chapter in the rich shared history between the two teams will be written Sunday when they face each other in the final of the women’s ice hockey World Championship for the 21st time in 22nd tournaments.

The US booked its spot in the final by dismantling Czechia 9-1, thanks to braces for captain Hilary Knight, Amanda Kessel and Tessa Janecke and a goal apiece for Abbey Murphy, Abby Roque and Caroline Harvey.

Knight’s goals and her assist increased her Team USA-record world championship tally to 98 points, while Harvey’s score and four assists added to her team-leading tournament total of 12 points.

“We’re on the hunt for a gold medal,” USA’s Cayla Barnes said, according to the tournament’s official website. “It’s been a little bit, so we definitely are hungry for that and we want to get that back so if it [USA vs Canada], it’s the greatest rivalry. It’s going to be a hard back and forth game, you expect that, so we’re really looking forward to the game.”

It will be a chance for the US to avenge a series of defeats by the Canadians in recent years, following five consecutive defeats including in the last two world championship finals and in the final of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

And Canada also coasted into the final, defeating Switzerland 5-1 in its own semifinal following a hattrick from Sarah Fillier and solo markers for Jamie Lee Rattray and Rebecca Johnston.

“It’s not hard to get up for this game, and I’m sure they’re saying the same thing over there,” Fillier said, according to CBC.

“It’s exactly what you dream of as a little kid. We got to do it in Calgary a few years ago just in front of friends and family [due to COVID-19 restrictions] so to play in front of probably 5,000 fans is really exciting,” she added.

The puck drop is scheduled for 7pm ET on Sunday.

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