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WATCH LIVE: U.S. women clash with Canada in potential gold game preview

Genevieve Lacasse, Caroline Ouellette, Hilary Knight

Team Canada’s goalie Genevieve Lacasse, left, and Caroline Ouellette, right, react after Team USA’s Hilary Knight, center, celebrates scoring during the second period of an exhibition hockey game in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Mark Blinch)

AP

So far, the U.S. and Canadian women’s hockey teams haven’t done anything to discourage people from penciling them in for a gold medal clash. If that’s true, then Wednesday’s game serves as a tantalizing appetizer starting up at 7:30 a.m. ET.

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If you favor recent events, this game might lean the U.S. way. They’ve won the last four exhibitions between the two teams and have bullied teams around early on in the tournament. Amanda Kessel brings the most name recognition, yet there’s plenty of talent to go around.

Canada holds the historic advantage against all competitors, including the United States, though. They’re shooting for their fourth consecutive gold medal in women’s ice hockey and still have Hayley Wickenheiser - largely believed to be the greatest women’s ice hockey ever - on their side.

MORE: Slideshow of the U.S. - Canada rivalry.

Again, the gap between these two teams and the rest of the world has been pronounced, but the two nations seem close (if not equal). Today serves as a fascinating barometer for the two nations and sport as a whole.

MORE: U.S. hockey player Julie Chu thanks mom

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins