By Gary R. Blockus | Nov. 07, 2017, 11:56 a.m. (ET)
Monique Lamoureux-Morando (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Canada during the first period at Agganis Arena on Oct. 25, 2017 in Boston.

 

The top rivalry in women’s ice hockey is reignited this week.

Team USA, the four-time defending world champion, will meet four-time reigning Olympic champion Canada on Wednesday at the Four Nations Cup at Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

First, though, the Americans take on Finland at 7 p.m. ET tonight in their tournament opener.

The Four Nations Cup begins with a round-robin format between traditional hockey powers Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States in Wesley Chapel, and then the gold- and bronze-medal games are Sunday at AMALIE Arena in Tampa, Florida.

Canada and the U.S. split games last month, with Team USA winning 5-2 in Quebec City before dropping a 5-1 heartbreaker in Boston to kick off The Time is Now Tour.

Team USA has won the Four Nations Cup seven times since its inception in 1996 and has won the last two tournaments, both over Canada. Canada beat the U.S. for the Four Nations Cup in 2014. The U.S. women have finished second 12 times and third once.

This year’s tournament is part of the tune-up tour ahead of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Canada defeated the U.S. for the Olympic gold medal in the last two Winter Games, but Team USA has won the last four world championships, all against Canada.

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Team USA’s 23-player Olympic team roster won’t be announced until Jan. 1, 2018, but the current 24-player roster features 12 Olympians in Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Gigi Marvin and Lee Stecklein.

Newcomer Cayla Barnes, 18, a freshman defenseman at Boston College, was added to the Team USA roster late last month.

In today’s opening round, Canada takes on Sweden at 3:30 p.m. ET, followed by Team USA against Finland at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, Finland and Sweden square off at 3:30 p.m. and Team USA takes on Canada at 7 p.m. After a day off, action in the round-robin portion concludes on Friday when Canada skates against Finland at 3 p.m. followed by Sweden-U.S. at 6:30 p.m.

The bronze-medal game takes place 12 p.m. Sunday in Tampa, followed by the gold-medal game at 3:30 p.m.

The entire series is being broadcast by HockeyTV.

The Canada and Team USA rivalry will continue on Dec. 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Dec. 15 in San Jose, California; both games are The Time is Now Tour stops. They are scheduled to meet in Olympic competition on Feb. 15.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.