Team USA women’s hockey team falls to Canada, settles for silver

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For four years, all roads — and the path to Canadian redemption — led to a USA-Canada rematch in the gold medal game at the 2022 Olympics.

In the sixth championship edition of the storied rivalry, Canada found that redemption.

The U.S. couldn’t contain Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin, whose two goals and assist powered an early Canadian flurry en route to a 3-2 win for the women’s hockey gold medal.

Just 35 seconds after a disallowed Canadian goal — which served as a sign of what was to come — Sarah Nurse punished a stunned U.S. team off a designed face-off play. As Poulin won the faceoff and fed Claire Thompson, Nurse leaked out and only had to tap in a perfect feed from Thompson past a helpless Alex Cavallini.

Canada suffocated the U.S. throughout the first period, refusing to allow the reigning Olympic champions to get any foothold in the game. At 15:02, Poulin ate up a costly Megan Keller giveaway behind the American net and doubled the Canadian lead with a wrist shot from the left point.

Left to force the issue on offense, Canada found the U.S. exposed on the break. With numbers on the break, Nurse pulled back a pass for Brianne Jenner, and Poulin subsequently cleaned up Jenner’s shot from a tight angle to give Canada a 3-0 lead.

Alex Cavallini kneels on the ice as Canadian players celebrate a goal by Marie-Philip Poulin during the United States’ 3-2 loss in the gold medal game.
AP

Hilary Knight’s shorthanded second period goal cut the deficit to 3-1, but the U.S. never managed to establish themselves as a consistent threat in their attempt to defend their Olympic gold. The U.S. did manage one more goal from Amanda Kessel with 13 second remaining in the game, but it wasn’t enough.

The cross-border rivals have met in the gold medal game five of the six times it has been featured at the Olympics. Despite the history, the U.S. appeared to be flat at times.

Hilary Knight scores the lone goal in the United States' loss.
Hilary Knight scores a goal in the United States’ loss.
AFP via Getty Images

“Just play with more spark,” Hilary Knight said after the U.S. was trailing by two after the second period. “It’s really simple, it’s hockey, it’s why we all signed up, go out there and play as fast as you can, compete, make plays, and at the end of the day it’ll be what it’ll be what it’ll be.”

After the U.S. broke their streak of four-straight gold medals, the Canadians now recapture what the Americans managed to wrestle away from them in Pyeongchang. They finish the Olympics a perfect 7-0, which also included a 4-2 win over the U.S. in preliminaries.

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