One of the most heated rivalries in North American sports added another chapter to its storied history Friday night. With less than 50 days to the Winter Olympics, the U.S. and Canadian women's national teams squared off in Grand Forks, N.D., in pre-Olympic action.
The two squads have played five times as part of their Olympic preparation and there's more than a little bad blood. With the U.S. squad leading Canada 4-1 in the dying seconds of the third period, frustrations boiled over in an explosive way: a full on line brawl between the two best teams in women's hockey.
This is the second time a U.S.-Canada game has devolved into fisticuffs. The first pre-Olympic contest in Burlington, Vt., also included a full on line brawl.
It's not like the dropped gloves tussles we see in the NHL, but it was no less vicious. There were a lot of gloved punches to masked faces and a whole lot of tackling.
The game ended with 12 penalties, 10 of which were fighting majors. Team USA's Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, Monique Lamoreux and Kacey Bellamy were among the U.S. brawlers. Canada's Melodie Daoust, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Vicki Bendus and Brianne Jenner were also involved in the fracas.
Canada is the three-time defending gold medalist, with the U.S. owning the only other gold in Olympic women's hockey. The two are expected to meet again in the gold-medal game in Sochi. The U.S. won Friday night's tilt 4-1, and also beat Canada eight days prior 5-1 in another pre-Olympic game.
Needless to say, the buildup to Sochi has been interesting, making for what should be a very exciting women's Olympic tournament.