Canada Defeats US in Latest Chapter of Olympic Women’s Hockey Rivalry

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Canada and the United States have met in the gold medal game at each of the seven Winter Olympics that women’s ice hockey has been contested, dating back to the 1998 Nagano Games. Canada, after losing to the US in the gold medal final at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and failing to reach the final of the 2019 World Championship, experienced a redemption of sorts as it defeated the US 3-2 in the final of the 2022 Beijing Games. The Canadian women have now won five of the seven Olympic gold medals in women’s ice hockey.

The US ended Canada’s run of four consecutive gold medals in 2018 with a 3-2 shootout victory. After another disappointing result the following year at the 2019 World Championships, Canadian general manager Gina Kingsbury distributed a clock to each player on the team with a countdown displaying the exact seconds until the start of the 2022 Beijing Games. Canada won the 2021 World Championships in August and concluded its redemption tour with a 3-2 victory over the US in Beijing to win its first Olympic gold medal since 2014.

Marie-Philip Poulin led the charge offensively for Canada, which had previously defeated the Americans in the round robin and outscored its opposition 57-10 through its first seven games of the tournament. Poulin scored two goals, including the game-winner, to cement her legacy as Canada’s “Captain Clutch.” Poulin has scored a combined seven goals through four Olympic finals. She scored the overtime winner against the US in 2014 and scored both of Canada’s goals in its 2-0 victory over the Americans in the 2010 Olympic final. She’s the only player (male or female) in Olympic history to score in four Olympic gold medal games.

Canada jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the gold medal game, but the Americans fought back to make it close and ultimately outshot Canada 40-21. Hilary Knight cut the US’ deficit to two goals with a short-handed goal in the second period and Amanda Kessel added a power-play goal with a dozen seconds left in the game to close the gap to one. Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 38 of the 40 shots she faced to earn the victory.

In addition to the impressive play of Poulin and Desbiens, Canada received contributions from players throughout its lineup. The team scored a record 57 goals in the tournament, surpassing their previous record of 44 in 2010. Sarah Nurse, the first Black woman to win an ice hockey Olympic gold medal, had one goal and one assist in the final and led all players in tournament scoring with 18 points. She now holds the record for most points in a single tournament.

Brianne Jenner, who played on a line with Poulin and Nurse, led all players in goals in the tournament with nine and was named MVP. Canadian defensive player Claire Thompson, meanwhile, scored three goals and added 10 assists to lead all defenders in scoring.

Canada reached the final after recording an 11-0 victory over Sweden and 10-3 win over Switzerland in the quarter-final and semifinal, respectively. The Americans scored 4-1 victories over both the Czech Republic and Finland to advance to the gold medal game. Finland defeated Switzerland 4-0 in the bronze medal game.

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