Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Canada Mounts Massive Comeback, Swipes Gold Medal Away from USA

Americans blow late lead with less than a minute left as they fall again to Canada

By James Neveau
|  Thursday, Feb 20, 2014  |  Updated 2:00 PM CDT
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Canada Knocks Off U.S. 3-2 In Overtime Thriller

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SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 20: Brianne Jenner #19 of Canada celebrates her goal in the third period against the United States during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Marie Philip-Poulin scored twice and Shannon Szbados made a slew of key saves as Team Canada erased a 2-0 third period deficit to win a 3-2 overtime decision over Team USA in the women's hockey gold medal game in Sochi. 

The early part of the game saw the Americans doing a nice job of dictating the pace and flow of the game, and as a result they were given several power plays as the Canadians attempted to slow them down by amping up their physical play. Shannon Szbados stood tall for Canada in each of those first two power plays, stopping several great shots including one from Megan Bozek that Szbados gloved down with some serious style and skill.

The Canadians got a power play later in the first period, and they used that as a springboard for a much better offensive push. They dominated puck possession for the rest of the period, with Natalie Spooner getting one of the best chances on a key rush to the net. Vetter was there to make the excellent post-to-post save, and she helped the Americans keep the game tied at 0-0 as the first period came to an end.

The second period started out with similar pace from the Canadian side, and the U.S. was sent reeling for the most part. A Kelli Stack penalty about seven minutes into the frame gave Canada another opportunity to get on the board, but Vetter was once again strong as the Americans were able to repel yet more advances by their opponent.

A few minutes after the successful kill, the Americans were finally able to get on the board. Jocelyne Lamoureux made a tremendous pass across the ice to Meghan Duggan in the opposite face-off circle, and she buried a gorgeous snap shot over Szbados to give the USA a 1-0 lead just after the halfway point of the game.

Not long after the Duggan tally, the U.S. squad went back on the penalty kill, and even though they faced a little over 30 seconds of 5-on-3 time after Anne Schleper was sent to the box as well, Vetter was completely untested despite her side being a player down. The American effort was paced by Jocelyne Lamoureux and Gigi Marvin, who both made several critical shot blocks to keep the U.S. ahead in the game.

As the third period got underway, the Americans got an early power play, and they took full advantage of some great puck possession to score another goal. This time, it was Hilary Knight setting the table, as her pass to the front of the net found the stick blade of Alex Carpenter. She tapped the puck into the cage, and the U.S. bench erupted as they took a 2-0 lead early in the frame.

The United States continued their assault on the Canadian side with a barrage of shots, but none of them could quite get past Szbados as the game remained a two goal contest. One of the best chances came when Knight and Carpenter rushed up the ice on a 2-on-1, but they were unable to score thanks to some great defense by the Canadian side.

As the period wore on, the U.S. continued to play strong defensively, but somehow the Canadians got into the zone and scored with just under 3:30 left in the game. Off a beautiful bank pass into the zone set everything up, Meaghan Mikkelson won a puck battle to get the puck over to Brianne Jenner. Her shot ended up going off of the leg of Kacey Bellamy, and when it got past Vetter, Canada had new life as they only trailed by a goal.

The final minutes of the game remained tense as both sides fought hard for the puck. The Canadians did have to go through one heart stopping moment as a U.S. clearing attempt skipped towards their empty net, but it ended up hitting the post to keep their chances at a gold medal alive.

The Americans came out flying in the opening minutes of overtime, as they got four separate chances to score the gold medal winner. Fortunately for the Candians, Szbados was able to stop all of the chances, and the game remained tied. 

After several huge chances, the Americans ended up getting a power play on a Catherine Ward cross-checking penalty about six minutes into the overtime frame. The Americans got one shot on their power play before they were whistled for a questionable slashing call, and the two sides went to 3-on-3 hockey. 

After Haylie Whickenheiser was hauled down and the Canadians were given a 4-on-3 power play, the Canadians finally scored and won the contest. With some great puck movement around the perimeter, Poulin eventually found the biscuit and scored past Vetter to give Canada a 3-2 victory and their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. 

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