Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Canada Hockey Place, Vancouver; UBC Thunderbird Arena, University Endowment Lands
Date Started: February 13, 2010
Date Finished: February 25, 2010
Format: Round-robin pool, followed by classification matches.
The United States and Canada entered the women's ice hockey tournament as the number one and two ranked teams in the world, with all other nations trailing far behind. The Canadians were the two-time defending Olympic champions, but the Americans had captured the 2008 and 2009 World Championships, as well as many smaller games along the way. Both asserted their dominance throughout the round robin play, drawing criticism for the large margins with which they were winning their games. In its opener against Slovakia, Canada bested the records it had held from a 2006 match against Italy (where it had won 16-0) with a final score of 18-0, setting new bars for greatest point disparity, biggest shutout, and most goals scored in one game. Their 7 goals in the first period also tied their record from the Italy game for most goals scored in one period. Slovakia's goaltender Zuzana Tomčíková nevertheless had an impressive game by stopping 49 other shots. By the semifinals, questions were being raised in the media as to whether women's ice hockey was competitive enough to be an Olympic sport.
The bronze medal game was fought between Sweden and Finland, with the latter emerging victorious after an overtime goal by Karoliina Rantamäki set the score at 3-2. The final came, as expected, in the form of a showdown between Canada and the United States. Rookie Marie-Philippe Poulin of Canada scored two goals within 2:55 of each other in the first period, and the score never changed past that point, despite intense play from both sides. With their win, Canada extended their record to three Olympic gold medals in the tournament and 15 consecutive victories in Olympic matches. It was a tournament of records, with Canada scoring a total of 48 points, one more than their previous record of 47 from 2006. Both Canada's Meghan Agosta and Switzerland's Stefanie Marty set a new high of 9 goals in an Olympic tournament, with Agosta scoring a record 14 points overall, 6 of which came from the match against Slovakia, an individual game point record. Pernilla Winberg of Sweden set a new bar as well, becoming the first female to score four goals in one Olympic game during a 6-2 victory against Slovakia, a feat that was matched a few days later by Marty in a game against China. Jenny Potter of the United States, meanwhile, became the first player to to score hat tricks in two consecutive matches after making her three goals in 12-1 and 13-0 victories against China and Russia respectively. When the Canadians mounted the top step of the podium, the emotion in Canada was obvious. There is something hard to match about a nation winning a gold medal in its national sport at a home Olympics.