Earlier today, in an overtime thriller worthy of the gold medal round, Canada defeated Team USA in the women's hockey final, 3-2, to win its fourth consecutive world title.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Canadian Marie-Philip Poulin told CBC Sports. “It’s a dream come true. It’s unreal. We just wanted to play our game and it was such a team effort. We never gave up today.”
The US women's hockey team was 15 minutes away from winning its first gold medal since 1998. Up 2-0 on Team Canada heading into the third period, the Americans looked ready to be crowned champions. But after Canada scored a goal with a little more than three minutes left in the period, the defending world champs went on the attack. They scored again to tie the game 2-2, sending it into overtime.
At the start of the extra period, the Americans looked like they wanted to put a quick end to the game. But Canada weathered the storm, and midway through OT, while on a 5-on-3 power play, scored the gold-medal clinching goal.
The Americans were back to an all-too-familiar place: Watching their rivals from the north celebrate.
“It’s heartbreaking. You go four years and you’ve got the game in the bag here, and then something happens," American Hilary Knight said. "It’s unfortunate, but this group has represented our country at an outstanding level, so you can’t really be too heartbroken about it.”
This is Team USA's second straight silver medal. And while skating away with anything around your neck — gold, silver, or bronze — is an accomplishment, this finish is especially bittersweet for the Americans. They had been locked in a fierce battle with Team Canada for months leading up to Sochi. The US women had revenge on their minds after failing to Canada in 2010, and they played hungry.
Just not as hungry as Canada — a team that can now, with back-to-back-to-back-to-back golds, can be considered legendary.
“It was an amazing moment, but I think we all know it was a team effort tonight,” Poulin said. “I’m so happy we got that gold medal back.”
Photos: Troy Wayrynen/ZUMAPRESS.com, Chuck Myers/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com