Canada blanks US for gold again in women’s hockey
AP Sports Writer
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Canada beat its American rival 2-0 to win the women’s hockey gold medal in a third straight Olympics.
Marie-Philip Poulin scored two goals and Shannon Szabados made 28 saves Thursday before a raucous crowd ringing cowbells and waving thousands of maple leaf flags.
After Poulin’s two first-period scores, the Canadians dominated every aspect of the biggest game in this young sport, earning their 15th straight Olympic victory.
Playing with a consistency and passion its men’s team would do well to emulate this weekend, Canada remained unbeaten at the Olympics since 1998, when the Americans won the first women’s gold.
The Canadians kept nearly the entire game in the Americans’ end – outpassing, outshooting and simply outworking the only team in women’s hockey with a chance of standing up to them.
Earlier, Finland won the bronze medal, beating Sweden 3-2 in overtime. The victory gave the Finns their first medal in women’s hockey.
Canada got two first-period goals from Poulin, the super-speedy 18-year-old forward from Quebec who claims she feels no Olympic pressure. Their smooth, graceful goalie did the rest, with Szabados capping her first Olympics with flawless netminding in a win that sometimes seemed just as one-sided as Canada’s 18-0 victory over Slovakia to open the Olympics 12 days ago.
Much of the Canadian men’s team, which faces Slovakia in the semifinals Friday, watched the game from press box seats above the ice, while Michael J. Fox, Wayne Gretzky and several Canadian gold medalists from other sports were in the stands. Several members of the American men’s team also attended before their meeting with Finland.
When the puck went to center ice and time expired, the Canadians skated into a massive pile-up near their goal. Cheering fans threw flags to the players, and they raised the banners or wrapped them around their shoulders as capes.
Jessie Vetter made 27 saves for the Americans, whose offense evaporated in front of Szabados and the Canadian defense. The potent power play that produced 13 goals in the last four games went 0-for-6, and the Canadians consistently won most of the battles in a physical, grinding game.
The only matchup that matters in women’s hockey was set up in Monday’s semifinals, when the Americans routed Sweden and Canada clobbered Finland to finish two dominant runs through the field. Canada outscored its opponents 46-2, starting with an 18-0 rout of Slovakia. The Americans had a 40-2 advantage, with neither team winning by fewer than five goals.
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