Ice hockey women Olympics 2018 Odds
Who wins women's ice hockey during winter olympics 2018?
The NHL's decision not to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics has no bearing on the women's tournament. That's why 2018 should be no different from other years, as far as the Olympics go.
Canada has won the last four tournaments, dating back to Salt Lake City in 2002, and won silver in 1998, the women's first crack at the Olympics. This year, Canada is the odds on favourite to go for five golds in a row. The team is full of players from the NCAA, and the recently formed CWHL. Canada will look to 31 year-old veteran Shannon Szabados to backstop them to another gold medal. Szabados has played in the men's college league in Alberta (ACAC) for many years, and most recently played in the men's Southern Professional Hockey League, putting up a over 0.900 SV% two years in a row. With returning names like Meghan Agosta, Natalie Spooner, and Marie-Phillipe Poulin, this Canadian team should still be able to challenge for gold, even after the departure of women's hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser.
The only other team that poses a threat to Canada's gold medal hopes is the United States. In the last five tournaments, the US has one gold, and three silvers. Carried by the stellar play of CWHL star Amanda Kessel, and Olympic veteran Hilary Knight, team USA should be looking to end Canada's reign within Olympic hockey. This roster is very similar to the one that just won the Women's World Hockey Championship back in April of this year. Look for 25 year-old Alex Rigsby to steal the show in net for team USA.
A real threat for bronze in 2018 will be team Finland. They recently finished third in the 2017 Women's World Championship while blanking team Germany 8-0. In fact, goaltender Noora Raty had two shutouts in the playoff rounds (tied for first in the tournament), and actually helped her team beat team Canada 4-3 in the round robin. Raty was also named the goaltender of the tournament. Dazzling winger Susanna Tapani put up an impressive nine points in just 6 games during the tournament, good for a tie for third in scoring. 30-year old, 5-foot-4 dynamo Jenni Hiirikoski has won six bronze medals for Finland at the World Championships, and one in the Olympics in 2010. She was named best defenceman at the 2017 Worlds, and will look to add more hardware to her already impressive resume.