Backstopping the gold medal final—will Canada’s Szabados get the nod?

The coaches aren’t saying who’ll go up against the U.S.’s Jessie Vetter

After Canada’s final practice at east Vancouver’s Britannia Rink yesterday, coach Mel Davidson refused to answer the question on everybody’s mind—who’ll be backstopping for Canada in today’s gold-medal final against the U.S.? “I’m not announcing anything—that’s it,” she said. “We have made a decision,” she conceded, after prodding from reporters. “And we’ve talked to the goalies.”

Youngster Shannon Szabados and veteran Kim St-Pierre have each had two starts, and are likely candidates for the job; Montreal’s Charline Labonte, who played the gold-medal final in Turin, is less likely because she’s only played one period, so far in Vancouver. St-Pierre was 2-0 with a 1.61 goals against average in three  appearances in Canada’s six-game exhibition series with the U.S. Szabados was 2-0 with a 2.00 GAA in her two starts.

Szabados, the youngest of Canada’s three goalies at 23, started in Canada’s last game, a 5-0 semi-final win over Finland, Monday—a hint, perhaps, that she might get the nod today. She spent five years in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and was the league’s top goaltender.

No one was asking Team USA coach, Mark Johnson the question; there’s no chance he’ll go with anyone but Jessie Vetter, the reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner as the NCAA’s top player.