Canada Bests U.S. In Women’s Hockey Olympic Gold Medal Game
Canada defeated Team USA to win women’s ice hockey gold Thursday at the Beijing Olympics, while Marie-Philip Poulin had two goals and an assist and goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens made 38 saves in the 3-2.
Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel scored for the U.S.
This was the sixth meeting between the two countries for Olympic women’s ice hockey gold since the event was added in 1998. The Americans won twice (1998, 2018) while Canada has won gold five times (four against the U.S. and once vs. Sweden in 2006; U.S. took bronze).
Canada finished the tourney with an Olympic-record 57 goals; the Canadians previously defeated the Americans 4-2 in the preliminary round.
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The Canadians appeared to take the lead about seven minutes into the game on a Natalie Spooner goal, but a challenge by U.S. coach Joel Johnson reversed the call to offside.
However, Sarah Nurse deflected a Claire Thompson point shot past goalie Alex Cavallini just 54 seconds later. Poulin then extended the lead to 2-0 with 4:58 left in the period. She stole the puck from forward Kelly Pannek and floated a shot that snuck under Cavallini’s arm for her fifth goal of the tournament.
It was the fourth straight game for the U.S. without a first-period goal. The shots were 11-11 in the first period, with Canada carrying most of the play.
“It’s obviously not the start we wanted,” said Team USA captain Kendall Coyne-Schofield.
Poulin extended the lead to 3-0 at 10:52 of the second period. She became the only hockey player—male or female—to score in four Olympic gold-medal games. Seven of the 17 goals she’s scored in the Olympics have come in gold-medal games. Nurse passed Hockey Hall of Famer Hayley Wickenheiser for most points in a single Olympics (18) with her assist.
But the U.S. showed signs of life courtesy of Knight and her linemate Brandt. They were killing a Megan Keller holding penalty when Brandt forced a turnover in the defensive zone. Knight, playing in her U.S. hockey record 22nd Olympic game, skated into the zone, had a shot blocked, stayed with the rolling rebound, and scored to cut it to 3-1.
The U.S. continued its push in the third period, but Alex Carpenter hit the post with a shot and then was stopped by Desbiens on a partial breakaway.
Cavallini was pulled with over three minutes remaining in the game. Poulin took a tripping penalty with 1:25 to play, and the U.S. was playing 6-on-4. With 12.5 seconds left, Kessel slapped a rebound from the top of the crease to make it 3-2. That’s as close as they would get, though.
The previous two gold-medal games between these teams went to overtime.
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