New Year’s Eve brings with it champagne, celebration, and fireworks.
This year, it also brings the latest instalment of the Canada-United States hockey rivalry.
In its final round robin game of the IIHF World Junior Championship (following wins over Russia, Slovakia and Latvia), Team Canada will take on the team from south of the border in Toronto. Ahead of those potential fireworks, here are some of the most memorable Canada-USA hockey moments of the past:
1997 World Juniors – Gold Medal Game
The United States had finished ahead of Canada in their group, with the two teams tying in their round robin meeting. When they met again in the final, Marc Denis backstopped Canada to a 2-0 shutout victory for the country’s fifth straight title while the US settled for silver, its best finish ever at that time.
2002 Olympic Winter Games – Men’s Gold Medal Game
It had been 50 years since Canada had won Olympic gold in men’s hockey. The last time the US had hosted the Winter Games, they produced the “Miracle on Ice”. In Salt Lake City, it may have been the Americans who got the early lead, but it was Canada, on a pair of goals from each of Jarome Iginla and Joe Sakic plus one from Paul Kariya, that got the joy of hearing the national anthem.
2004 World Juniors – Gold Medal Game
In the United States’ first final appearance since 1997, Canada took a 3-1 lead into the third period. But before the seven-minute mark, the Americans tied it on a goal that went off Canadian goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury and over his shoulder. With just over five minutes to play in regulation, Fleury attempted to clear the puck, but instead hit his own defenceman and the puck bounced in for the goal that gave the US its first world junior title.
2007 World Juniors – Semifinal
Otherwise known as the game in which Jonathan Toews scored three shootout goals. The win put Canada into its sixth straight gold medal game, going on to win its third straight title.
2010 World Juniors – Gold Medal Game
A year after his semifinal heroics against Russia, Jordan Eberle did his best to make another miracle happen. With Canada trailing 5-3 with less than three minutes to play, Eberle scored twice within one minute and 14 seconds to force the game to overtime. But it was the Americans who got the winner in overtime, stopping Canada’s gold medal streak at five.
2010 Olympic Winter Games – Men’s Gold Medal Game
Up 2-1 with half a minute to play, Canada had the gold medal just about within its grasp. But then Zach Parise tied it, forcing overtime. Cue Sidney Crosby for one of the greatest moments in Canadian sporting history.
2010 Olympic Winter Games – Women’s Gold Medal Game
The game that made Marie-Philip Poulin a star. At just 18, she scored both goals that gave Canada the 2-0 win and its third straight Olympic gold medal in women’s hockey.
2014 Olympic Winter Games – Men’s Semifinal
2014 Olympic Winter Games – Women’s Gold Medal Game
Thank goodness for goal posts and Marie-Philip Poulin. With the Americans up 2-0 early in the third period, the dramatics began. Brianne Jenner finally put Canada on the board with three and a half minutes to play. Then with Shannon Szabados on the bench for an extra attacker, the Canadians had a little luck on their side as Kelli Stack’s long shot at the empty goal bounced off the post instead. With 55 seconds on the clock, Poulin added to her clutch credentials by tying it up. Then with just five seconds to go in a two-man advantage, Poulin got the goal that gave Canada its fourth straight women’s hockey gold.