Forget Celtics vs. Lakers, or Crosby vs. Ovechkin. Team Canada vs. Team USA in women's hockey is arguably the greatest rivalry in sports. It stretches back decades and involves two nations that take their hockey very, very seriously.
Women's hockey was added to the Olympics at the 1998 Games in Nagano. Team USA beat Canada 3-1 in the gold medal game, but since then Canada has had the golden touch at the Olympics, defending their title at four consecutive Games. Let's take a look back at some of our favourite moments in this Olympic rivalry:
2002, Salt Lake City
Canada was seeking to avenge its loss in Japan. Team USA wanted the once-in-a-lifetime satisfaction of winning an Olympic gold on home soil and were heavy favourites going into the tournament, having gone undefeated in 35 straight games. Sorry, Team USA.
Despite lopsided officiating (Canada went to the penalty box 11 times), Team Canada would take the game 3-2 off a Jayna Hefford goal. Canada also had a secret weapon going into the game: a lucky loonie had been embedded at centre ice. The coin now sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
After the U.S. missed the gold medal game at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, they were looking to spoil the party for Team Canada at home. Fortunately, Canada's Shannon Szabados proved unbeatable in net and posted a 2-0 shutout. The gold medal game also saw heroics from Marie Philip-Poulin, who scored both goals for Canada.
The game also gave us one the most iconic images of those Olympics as members of the women's team took to the ice with beers and cigars to celebrate their gold medal win. The team was later chastised for taking their celebration to the ice. Hockey Canada quickly apologized although many Canadians supported the women.
With less than five minutes left and a 2-0 lead in the gold medal game, it looked like the Americans would finally have that long elusive Olympic title. The hockey gods can be so cruel.
Canada's Brianne Jenner scored to make it 2-1 game. Canada pulled goalie Shannon Szabados for an extra attacker and Canada pressed for the tying goal. Canada then got a timely 'save' when a loose puck headed towards the empty net somehow missed and bounced off the post.
"I turned to one of my teammates on the bench and said 'That's a sign. We're going to win this thing,'" Meaghan Mikkelson said to the CBC. Mere seconds later, Marie-Philip Poulin would score to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Poulin would also end up scoring the game winning goal in overtime, giving Canada its fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.
"To be honest, that game was like a fairy tale," Poulin told the National Post. "If we wanted to write a different story, I don't think we could have written it any better."
Team Canada's coach Kevin Dineen said that the 2014 gold-medal game might have been the greatest women's hockey game ever. And it undoubtedly added fuel to the fiery rivalry between Canada and the U.S.
PyeongChang will be another interesting chapter to this long rivalry. Both teams have outclassed their opponents and racked up lopsided wins. Canada beat the U.S. 2-1 when the teams met in round robin play last week. But at times the Canadians looked like they were barely hanging on and were outshot by a hungrier U.S. team. There's also the fact that the U.S. has won eight of the last 10 world championships.
"On one hand it's like any other hockey tournament. On the other hand, it is our Stanley Cup," Canadian forward Brianne Jenner said. "It's what we dream about since we're little girls."
Canada will face the U.S. for gold in PyeongChang on Wednesday night, 11:00 pm ET.
With files from the Canadian Press