Long-standing tensions boil over in latest chapter of Canada-U.S. rivalry

Nations have been battling for women's Olympic hockey supremacy for 20 years

By Amy Cleveland, CBC Sports

The closing minutes of Canada's preliminary-round match against the United States likely offered a look at things to come in the anticipated gold-medal game — and the battle between the hockey powerhouses could get even more ugly.

The North American rivals have met in four of five Olympic finals since women's hockey made its debut in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, which was the only time the U.S. managed to wrestle gold from the Canadians.

As the seconds were winding down in regulation time on Thursday's game in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the Americans were pressuring to force overtime. Canada's goaltender Geneviève Lacasse had other ideas, shutting the door with her 44th save of the game to give the reigning champs a 2-1 victory

With the buzzer signalling the end of the match, an Olympic-sized skirmish erupted in front of the Canadian net as both team's emotions boiled over.

VIDEO | Canadian and American players scuffle after the final horn

Of course, there is no love lost between these bitter rivals, who have been battling at the Olympic Winter Games every quadrennial for the last 20 years. It's one of the greatest rivalries in sports and the story is still being written.

The Americans have historically dominated at the world championships and the Four Nations while Canada has been nearly unbeatable at the Olympics — frustrating their neighbours.

Even when America was favoured to win in the 2014 gold-medal game in Sochi, Canada found a way to dig out a victory. The U.S. led 2-0 going into the third period, but Canada stormed back in the final four minutes to force OT before netting the game-winner. 

We'll all have to wait until Wednesday to see how the next chapter unfolds, as the teams are on another collision course to the gold-medal game at 11:30 p.m. ET