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Canada Beats U.S. 3-2 In Olympic Women's Hockey Round-Robin Game

2014 Winter Olympics: Controversial Loss for U.S. Women's Hockey

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - The puck trickled under Jesse Vetter's pads and over the goal line, and then the whistle blew.

Or was it the other way around?

The Canadian women's hockey team beat the United States 3-2 on Wednesday in a tense preview of the expected gold medal match, taking the lead on Hayley Wickenheiser's controversial third-period goal. Meghan Agosta scored in the second period to tie the game 1-1, and then Canada added the go-ahead goal 93 seconds later on a shot that U.S. goalie Jesse Vetter seemed to have stopped, drawing a whistle from referee Anna Eskola of Finland.

But the puck slid through Vetter's pads and over the goal line. A video - and presumably audio - review confirmed the puck went into the net before the whistle.

"You celebrate when you see the puck cross the line," said Wickenheiser, who is participating in her fifth Winter Games. "It doesn't matter how."

But Vetter said she thought the whistle had blown before the puck came loose. American coach Katey Stone was even more sure of it.

"I did hear a whistle blow before the puck went in," she said. "But, more importantly, I said to our players, 'Regardless of what happens, let's be ready.'"

They weren't.

The Americans allowed Meghan Agosta to break into the zone by herself and beat Vetter with just over five minutes remaining - the second goal of the game for the MVP of the 2010 Olympics - giving Canada a 3-1 lead. The U.S. pulled the goalie and cut the deficit to one on Anne Schleper's goal with 65 seconds left, but even with a power play that gave them a 6-on-4 advantage they couldn't tie it.

It was the Canadians' third consecutive Olympic victory over the U.S., including the gold medal games in Vancouver and Salt Lake. But it was their first victory over the Americans for coach Kevin Dineen, who took over the team in December after a career in which he played for Hartford and Columbus and saw rivalries like the Red Sox and Yankees and Michigan-Ohio State up close.

"I think this one is the real deal," he said. "You always say, 'Oh, they don't like each other.' I don't think that. I think there's a mutual respect there. Sometimes to be really good, you have to have a foil."

Finland's Jenni Hiirikoski scored her second goal of the game with 2:22 left in overtime to help the 2010 bronze medalists escape with a 4-3 victory over Switzerland earlier Wednesday. The Finns earned the No. 3 seed in the Olympic playoffs, and they will play the loser of the round-robin finale between Russia and Sweden, with the other facing Switzerland.

"It's getting to be the fun part now," said Michelle Karvinen, who also scored twice for Finland. "I've been looking forward to getting to the real part of the tournament."

Hilary Knight also scored and Vetter stopped 28 shots for the United States, which also had secured a spot in the semis already. Charline Labonte made 25 saves for Canada, which had already earned a bye into the semifinals and now will take the No. 1 seed into the playoffs.

If they both win, they would meet again in the final.

"There's always plenty on the line" against the Americans, Wickenheiser said. "Whether there's a gold medal or not, it feels like a gold-medal game."

It's the fifth time the teams have met in the Olympics, but the first since women's hockey was added to the Winter Games in 1998 that they have played in the preliminary round. The Americans beat Canada twice that year - including the gold medal game - but it's been Canada ever since, at least in the Olympics.

In addition to leading their southern neighbors 3-1 in Olympic gold medals, Canada has 10 world championships to five for the United States. (No other country has won even one.)

The Americans have won five of the last seven, though, including last year's in Ottawa. In a pre-Olympic tuneup tour, the Canadians won three straight but then lost four in a row in the turmoil following coach Dan Church's surprise December resignation; he was replaced Dineen.

Through all of the winning and losing streaks, the teams have remained equal. And that's the way they played it for the first 37 minutes, with the goalies withstanding rush after rush to keep their shutouts intact.

The fans shouted dueling chants of "Ca-na-da!" and "U-S-A!" And none of the players on the bench sat down, either standing to cheer on their teammates or leaning over the boards.

The United States finally scored when Schleper's wrist shot was tipped by Knight into the net. But Canada tied it with a power-play goal of its own, making it 1-1 in the third period when Agosta parked on the right side of the net and waited for the pass from Wickenheiser.

The Canadians celebrated a second goal just 93 seconds later, then Agosta scored on a breakaway to make it 3-1.

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Robert February 13 2014 at 12:31 PM

It sure seemed like the puck had not completely crossed the goalline as the whistle blew.

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deejam58 February 13 2014 at 12:21 PM

Yes i agree on Matt Lauer doing the Olympics..I think they are trying to give him a job that takes him away from the regular show because of their ratings....no one likes him, and, can't figure out how he lasts time and time again...give him the boot..l

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rileysrule February 13 2014 at 12:13 PM

The Refs completely screwed the Americans. The video slow-motion and audio clearly made the goal not count it was so obvious. The video I watched several times it was not even close, but the refs got together and still called it a goal, reversing what we all saw and heard, while no explanation was ever given, because they are refs they are never wrong. Canada got away several times with too many skaters on the ice and finally after several infractions they were penalized, along with other infractions that were never called. Canada got away with murder the whole game and should be disqualified, and the refs never given the chance to change the outcome of a match again. You better believe I'm a sore loser especially when so much evidence supports me.

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kklinvt February 13 2014 at 2:53 PM

Kinda like the refs screwed Canada on the US's first goal when a player was standing in the crease impairing the goalie's motion to the right?

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citylooksmtka February 13 2014 at 9:11 PM

https://twitter.com/AshleyChaseTV/status/433599628794404864/photo/1 so i call BS on your post. looks like she is not doing what you claim... The refs sucked big time in this game. with all the non-calls and then the little ticky tack calls.

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glenema February 13 2014 at 12:06 PM

This isn't a continuation play like basketball.Just because the puck rolls in AFTER the whistle blew does not mean it's a goal.The puck is not over the goal line when the whistle blows.Anyone that watches hockey knows that was not a goal. My 10 year old knew it wasn't a goal. Typical for the Olympics.

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thinksolutions February 13 2014 at 11:53 AM

Yeah but all these so called players for the other teams make their millions in the US

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mhank40 February 13 2014 at 4:02 PM

Most of the women playing are in college or have other jobs - they are not millionaires.

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o2bncapecod February 13 2014 at 11:42 AM

They only listed Russia vs Japan in my part of the country so didn't even have an idea this game was being played. Nice job NBC.

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glenema February 13 2014 at 11:38 AM

The whistle blew before the puck even reached the goal line.A goal is scored when the entire puck CROSSES the goal line.It was not a goal.That said,the officials in that game missed so many calls and called little pitty pat penalties that shouldn't have been called.The game could have been so much better if the refs had their s#*t together.

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Tammy February 13 2014 at 10:24 AM

It seems everyone of the events where Americans are hyped they fall short; and the ones where the players are new and hungrier they do better. Maybe there's a lesson there!

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Vinny February 13 2014 at 11:17 AM

Audio and vidio proved that it was a legal goal. Being a 'sore loser' is typical for Americans. Canada WON, so get over it.

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JIM February 13 2014 at 11:24 AM

Maybe you need to get a better understanding of the English language. I see nothing in Tammy's reply that said it was not a legal goal, she was saying that when they are all hyped up and excited they wind up losing, and when they are a new person who has not been there and is relaxed they win. So she is admitting they lost. Sounds like you are from Canada and can't speak English very well, so it is ok you are a little ignorant of how to comprehend (that means to understand). Canada did win, and we are not disputing that. Learn how to speak and understand a language before trying to argue.

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Human4u2 February 13 2014 at 11:49 AM

Rematch for the Gold.
You heard it hear first.
Pun Intended!

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English February 13 2014 at 9:40 AM

This reminds me of the Russians beating the US in Basketball, when it didn't happen, the officials just kept adding time to the game until the Russians got and lead and then called the game over. This was the same, just wait, game over but we will not ackownlege that fact until we get the result we want.

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bzzzbayte February 13 2014 at 9:22 AM


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