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Canada beats U.S. 3-2 to win women's hockey gold at Beijing Olympics

Russian skater finishes fourth amid doping scandal
Russian skater Kamila Valieva finishes fourth amid doping scandal 01:36

Canada's Captain Clutch, Marie-Philip Poulin, delivered at the Olympics again.

Poulin scored twice, including her third gold-medal clinching goal, and Canada reclaimed its place atop the women's hockey world by capping its run through the Beijing Games with a 3-2 win over the defending champion United States on Thursday.

Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 38 shots and Sarah Nurse had a goal and assist in a game where the Canadians built a 3-0 lead and hung on for the win. Nurse set the single tournament record with 18 points.

The Canadians finished 7-0 and spent their time in Beijing showcasing a dynamic, deep and relentless offensive attack to capture their fifth Olympic title in seven tournaments, with four coming against the Americans in what's been one of sports' fiercest and longest-running rivalries.

Just as importantly, Canada bounced back from a shocking 3-2 shootout gold-medal loss to the U.S. at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.  

"There is some angel up there. This group makes things easy celebrating each other's success being on the same page, one team," the Reuters news agency quoted Poulin as saying. "Since 2018, we have been putting in the work and, to be honest,
to be rewarded with that gold medal today, was all worth it."

"I got shivers — 2018 was hard, very, very hard," Poulin added. "When you take some time to reflect what you need to do better
as a group, personally I did, and it really pays off. When you surround yourself with good people good things happen." 

Canada can now boast holding both the Olympic and world championship titles at the same time, and for the first time since 2012. The win at Beijing comes nearly six months after Poulin's overtime goal sealed Canada's 3-2 victory over the U.S. at the worlds, which ended the Americans' run of winning five consecutive tournament titles.

US ice hockey teammates react at the end of the women's gold medal game of the Beijing Winter Olympics after Canada beat them, 3-2, at the Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing on February 17, 2022. ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

Hilary Knight, the Americans' only consistent threat in the tournament, scored her team-leading sixth goal on a shorthanded rush to cut the deficit to 3-1. Amanda Kessel scored with 14 seconds remaining during a mad scramble in front for a power-play goal and with the U.S. net empty for an extra attacker.

The Americans, who have two Olympic golds, settled for their fourth silver medal, with all the losses coming against Canada.

Finland shut out Switzerland 4-0 on Wednesday to take bronze. 

Poulin continued playing up to the nickname she earned for scoring decisive goals in big games — and especially against the Americans. She scored both goals to seal Canada's 2-0 gold-medal win over the U.S. at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Four years later at Sochi, Poulin scored in overtime to seal the gold-medal win over the Americans again.

Poulin staked the Canadians to a 2-0 lead with 4:34 left in the first period, then made it 3-0 off an odd-man rush 9:08 into the second period.

Knight's goal with 3:21 left in the second period provided the Americans life, but they were unable to cash in on their chances in the third period. 

It's been a long and bumpy road back for the Canadians, who were forced to reinvent themselves in three years under coach Troy Ryan. The low point followed Canada settling for bronze at the 2019 world championships, which marked the first time in tournament history the country failed to reach the title game.

At Beijing, the Canadians out-classed the field by outscoring opponents by a combined margin of 57-10, including a 4-2 win over the U.S. in group play last week.

The U.S. didn't have enough defense to contain the Canadians' aggressive forechecking attack, nor the offense to match them, especially without top center Brianna Decker, who broke her left leg in the tournament opener.

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