U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Settles for Silver After Losing to Canada 2-3
(BEIJING) — Canada’s Captain Clutch, Marie-Philip Poulin, delivered at the Olympics again.
Poulin scored twice, including her third gold-medal clinching goal, and Canada reclaimed its place atop the women’s hockey world by capping its run through the Beijing Games with a 3-2 win over the defending champion United States on Thursday.
Ann-Rene Desbiens saved 38 shots, and Sarah Nurse scored a goal as well as an assist during a match where Canada built a lead of 3-0 and held on to win. Nurse set the single tournament mark with 18 points.
The Canadians finished 7-0 and spent their time in Beijing showcasing a dynamic, deep and relentless offensive attack to capture their fifth Olympic title in seven tournaments, with four coming against the Americans in what’s been one of sports’ fiercest and longest-running rivalries.
Not only that, Canada rebounded from the shocking loss of a 3-2 shootout gold medal to the U.S. in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Canada is now the only country to hold both the Olympic and World Championship titles simultaneously. This feat was first achieved since 2012. The win at Beijing comes nearly six months after Poulin’s overtime goal sealed Canada’s 3-2 victory over the U.S. at worlds, which ended the Americans’ run of winning five consecutive tournament titles.
Hilary Knight, the Americans’ only consistent threat in the tournament, scored her team-leading sixth goal on a shorthanded rush to cut the deficit to 3-1. Amanda Kessel got the goal with 14 seconds to spare in an insane scramble at the front of the U.S. for a power-play and for an additional attacker.
Alex Cavallini made 18 saves in her fourth start at the tournament.
Americans have won two Olympic golds. They settled for the fourth medal. All losses were against Canada.
Poulin maintained her dominance of big-game goals, especially when it came to against the Americans. She scored both goals to seal Canada’s 2-0 gold-medal win over the U.S. at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Poulin, four years later, scored overtime at Sochi to secure the gold medal win over the Americans.
Poulin gave Canada a lead of 2-0 with just 4:34 to go in the opening period. It was then made 3-0 by an odd man rush 9:08 into second period. Nurse went up the right side and fed Brianne Jeanner. Cavallini was unable to stop her madness. The rebound caromed to Poulin, who immediately fired a shot from the left of the net and banked it in off Cavallini’s skate.
Knight’s goal with 3:21 left in the second period provided the Americans life, but they were unable to cash in on their chances in the third period. Five minutes into the game, Alex Carpenter had two opportunities. Her one-timer from left circle missed the crossbar and she was then able to pass Desbiens with a partial escape.
It’s been a long and bumpy road back for the Canadians, who were forced to reinvent themselves in three years under coach Troy Ryan. Canada finished bronze in the 2019 world championships. It was Canada’s first defeat at the title match.
The Canadians beat the rest of the field in Beijing by scoring 57-10 against their opponents, winning 4-2 over the U.S. last week in group play.
The U.S. didn’t have enough defense to contain the Canadians’ aggressive forechecking attack, nor the offense to match them, especially without top center Brianna Decker, who broke her left leg in the tournament opener.
They had difficulty scoring their chances over the course of the tournament, finishing fifth out 10 teams.
Poulin had scored Canada’s second goal, scoring just minutes prior to the trouble becoming apparent. A Canadian turnover in the neutral zone led to Abby Roque — Decker’s replacement — driving up the left wing. Instead of waiting for her teammates, Roque fired an attempt at the net that Desbiens easily blocked.
A minute later, two U.S. forwards lazily misplayed Megan Keller’s clearing attempt. Poulin defeated Americans with the puck. After turning toward the net, Poulin knuckled a shot that seemed to slip past Savannah Harmon.
Canada was able to score three times during the opening period. However, their first goal, which was scored by Natalie Spooner following an offside video review, was not allowed. Nurse clearly was offside as evident by replays.
It didn’t seem to matter. Nurse was able to score 54 seconds after a faceoff at the U.S. left. Poulin won a faceoff. Nurse then drew the ball back to Claire Thompson. Thompson fired a high pass through middle which Nurse was able to redirect inside the right column.