Canada rallies, shocks US in women’s hockey final

Canada rallies, shocks US in women's hockey final (Image 1)
Canada rallies, shocks US in women's hockey final (Image 1)

The puck skittered the
length of the ice on its way toward the empty Canadian net before
clanging off the post and coming to rest in front of the crease.

It was, for a few more seconds at least, still a one-goal game.

Poulin scored with 54.6 seconds left in regulation to complete Canada's
comeback from a two-goal deficit, then added the gold medal-winning
goal at 8:10 of overtime to beat the United States 3-2 on Thursday — the
fourth consecutive Olympic women's hockey title for the country that created the sport.

Szabados made 27 saves for Canada, which has won 20 straight in the
Winter Games since the Nagano final in 1998. That was the only gold
medal for the United States, which has lost in the Olympic final to
Canada in all three tries times since then.

Meghan Duggan and Alex
Carpenter scored for the Americans. Jesse Vetter made 28 saves for the
U.S., shutting the powerful Canadians down for 56:34 before Brianne
Jenner knocked a seemingly harmless shot off a defender's knee and into
the net.

With the goalie pulled for an extra skater, U.S. forward
Kelli Stack sent a clearing shot down the ice, missing a potential
game-clinching empty-net goal by inches. With Szabados still off, Poulin
tied it and sent the game into overtime.

After six tense minutes
of the extra period, the U.S. picked up a power play when Catherine Ward
was sent off for cross-checking. But five seconds later, Jocelyne
Lamoureux was called for slashing for swiping at the goalie's pads after
a save. And during a sloppy player change by the Americans, five-time
Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser got free on a breakaway before she was
bumped from behind by Hilary Knight and sent sprawling.

It could have been called a penalty shot.

It could have been no call.

Knight was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking. With the 4-on-3
advantage, the Canadians worked the puck around and over to Poulin, who
knocked it into the open net and set off the celebration on the bench
and among the Maple Leaf-waving fans.

The Canadians also beat
their southern neighbors three times in a pre-Olympic tour before coach
Dan Church quit unexpectedly in December. Former NHL player and coach
Kevin Dineen replaced him, but the Americans won four straight times
heading into the Olympics.

Then, in a rare round-robin matchup between the sports' two top powers, Canada won 3-2.

beat Sweden earlier Thursday for the bronze medal at the Bolshoy Ice
Dome, where the women moved after playing the preliminaries at the
smaller Shayba Arena next door. The 10,639 fans included the Canadian
men's team that completed a sweep the hockey gold medals in Vancouver four years ago.

than 24 hours before the Canadians and Americans meet in the same rink
in the men's semifinals, fans wearing Maple Leaf sweaters and Stars and
Stripe scarves tried to outshout each other — with a healthy number of
locals chanting “Ro-ssi-ya!” for their long-departed hockey
teams. The pro-Canada crowd grew louder after the first goal, but the
second one quieted them until the flurry at the end of regulation.

hard-hitting first period featured five penalties and no goals. It was
still scoreless when Duggan took a drop pass from Lamoureux at the left
circle and wristed the puck into the top corner of the net past a
screened Szabados.

The U.S. scored on a power play early in the
third when Tara Watchorn was sent off for the third time in the game
and, with just seconds left in the tripping penalty, Hilary Knight
threaded a pass through Canadian defenseman Laura Fortino's legs to
Carpenter at the far side of the crease.

She deflected it past Szabados and off the post to make it 2-0.

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