Down two goals with less than four minutes remaining in the 2014 women's Olympic hockey gold-medal game, Canada rallied to stun Team USA 3-2 in overtime.
As it is in every final, only one team could walk away happy, but this was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for the Americans, who lost to Canada in the gold-medal game for the second Olympics in a row.
Marie-Philip Poulin was the woman of the hour for Canada, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals to lead her team to victory, just as she did in Vancouver four years ago.
“I don’t know what to say, it’s so surreal and a dream come true again,” she said, as relayed by the Canadian Press, via Canada.com.
Here's a quick look at the box score and final result, followed by a closer examination of how the game went down at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi.
|Team||1st Period||2nd Period||3rd Period||OT||Total|
Period No. 1 featured plenty of action but nothing on the scoreboard, as the goalies for both teams put on a fine display.
Canada's Shannon Szabados played spectacularly, stopping 11 American shots, while American Jessie Vetter stopped nine Canadian shots in their tracks.
After the scoreless first period, Canada appeared to find a rhythm and controlled the puck for the first half of Period No. 2. A Catherine Ward turnover led to a breakaway goal for Meghan Duggan to put Team USA up 1-0.
Duggan's placement on her goal was exquisite, which American soccer star Julie Foudy compared to a pin-point soccer shot:
The United States took that 1-0 lead into the third period and then quickly added to it when Hilary Knight found Alex Carpenter close to the net, where she tapped it in past Szabados to give Team USA a 2-0 lead heading down the home stretch.
ESPN Stats & Info pointed out it was Carpenter's team-leading fourth goal of the 2014 Winter Games:
Alex Carpenter's 3rd period goal put USA women up 2-0 over Canada. It was Carpenter's team leading 4th goal of the Olympics #USAvsCanada— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 20, 2014
With nothing to lose, Canada came charging back and scored its first goal with under four minutes remaining in the game when Brianne Jenner's shot careened off American Kacey Bellamy and into the net.
The game was still 2-1 with 90 seconds left when Canada went to its empty-net set in order to ramp up its offensive attack.
The strategy nearly backfired when the U.S. team sent a shot toward the empty net, only to see the puck clang off the left post.
So instead of finishing of the Canadians with a game-sealing goal, the Americans helplessly watched Poulin stick a dagger in their hearts with less than a minute remaining, tying the game with her first goal.
As Fox Sports Live pointed out, hockey, like many sports, is a game of inches:
Overtime belonged to the Canadians.
Thanks to a couple of penalties, Canada took advantage of a four-on-three power play when Laura Fortino found Poulin for the game-winner, giving Canada the gold medal for the second consecutive Olympic Games.
After finishing in second place behind Canada twice in a row, the Americans clearly still have some work to do for the 2018 Winter Games.
The talent to win gold is there for Team USA, but thus far, the squad hasn't been able to get past the mental barrier it takes to accomplish the feat.
These two teams are developing quite a competitive rivalry, which is great for fans from both nations. However, it would be nice to see a few other nations with legitimate shots to win the competition the next time around.
Updated Medal Count
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