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US Women's Hockey Team's Nicole Hensley Doesn't Take Rivalry with Canada Lightly

02-19-2018

The USA Women's Olympic Hockey team will face off against Canada for the gold medal Wednesday at 10:10 pm EST on the USA Network.  The game will also be available via live streaming at NBC Olympics.

The rivalry between the U.S. and Canada has been called the greatest in team sports. And fortunately for the U.S. team, it's a position goaltender Nicole Hensley has found herself in before. In 2017, the USA team played in the gold medal game against Canada in the women's world championships.  

Hensley successfully stopped 28 Canadian shots to help the U.S. team win the game in overtime for the fourth consecutive year. 

The rivalry with the Canadian team is something Hensley doesn't take lightly.

"Every time we get to play Canada it provides us with an opportunity to see how we measure up against them," Hensley told thesportingnews.com. "It heightens the rivalry that much more. Our goal is to beat them every time we play."

Don't let the smile on her official Team USA Winter Olympic photograph fool you.  When the Lakewood, Colo. native is on the ice, she is a force to be reckoned with.  

Hensley, however, would tell you she gets her strength to compete with a higher power. 

"I would say that I used to have a bit of a temper on the ice. ... That is not how I want to portray myself or portray how God has acted in my life," she told thehockeywriters.com. "My faith has calmed me down on the ice and helped me realize too that the result is not necessarily the most important thing."

"It is more important to be on the ice and enjoy the chance to play when God has given me such a passion and ability in this game," she continued.

Sports writers around the country would agree the 23-year-old does have God-given talents to play the game. She is regarded by many as the best female goaltender in the United States.

She played her collegiate career at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. During her four years at the school, she only allowed 2.98 goals. Hensley stats also include four career shutouts, 4,094 saves and a .921 save percentage.

In addition to writing out scriptures on her goaltender's face mask, she also tweets out scriptures a few times each week.  In her latest message to fans on social media, Hensley shared a message from Psalms.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." - Psalm 32:8 

She also recently shared with fans writing on Twitter that participating in the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies was a dream come true.

And what is the most important thing about life she has learned from hockey?  Hensley says if anything, it would really be to trust God.

"Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, obviously He had a plan in every single place that He put me. It is easy to say that now, but really it's just taught me that through the hardships you have to trust in your faith," she told the hockeywriters.com. "You have to be willing to be uncomfortable to either grow in your faith or grow as a person or player as well."

Hensley is featured in the Winter Olympics and the Bible reading plan presented online by the Museum of the Bible.

Users can learn about the role of the Bible in Hensley's life and in the lives of fellow Olympians Kelly Clark, Shane Doan, Nick Geopper, Lolo Jones, and Elana Meyers-Taylor.

You can follow Hensley on Twitter @NicHens29.

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