The United States women's hockey team beat Canada in the gold medal match on Wednesday night, taking home Olympic gold for the first time since 1998.
The game came down to 20 minutes of scoreless overtime, and then finally to a shootout, where it took six attempts for the Americans to finally prevail.
With the win, the United States women exorcise some demons of past matches against Canada, who had beaten the Americans in the previous two Winter Olympic gold medal games.
The United States women's hockey team beat Canada in thrilling fashion on Wednesday night to take gold at the Winter Olympics for the first time since 1998.
It was a dramatic back-and-forth match filled with history, with the teams so closely knotted that even the shootout needed an extra round before the dust finally settled.
The Americans were first to get on the board. After two missed power-play opportunities earlier in the period, veteran Hilary Knight was able to sneak a quick deflection past Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados for a goal in the team's third 5-on-4 of the game. The goal came with with just seconds left in the first period, helping the United States take a 1-0 lead into the break.
But it wouldn't take long for Canada to answer.
Just two minutes into the second period, Haley Irwin would tie the game up at 1-1 with a deflection of her own. Five minutes after that, Canadian legend and American arch villain Marie-Philip Poulin netted yet another huge goal against the United States to put the Americans behind for the first time in the game.
Poulin has been the source of many a nightmare for the United States. She scored the equalizer with just seconds left in the 2014 gold medal game, and would go on to net the game-winner in overtime to give Canada its fourth consecutive gold medal. Four years before that, Poulin also dashed the United States' gold medal dreams, scoring both goals in a 2-0 Canadian win at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
With her goal on Thursday, Poulin became the all-time leading scorer in gold medal game history, and gave Canada a 2-1 lead.
Later in the third, Poulin stoked the flames even further with a hit to the head on Brianna Decker, which the commentator noted would in most cases be a five minute penalty in international hockey, but in this case went unpenalized.
She has just returned to the ice. pic.twitter.com/r2FnfHAihu
United States' head coach Robb Stauber was clear with his feelings on the hit.
The arena broke out in boos after a replay of the hit was shown.
For a while, it looked as though it might be the most memorable moment of the final stretch of the game. The United States would stir up a bit of offense, but were always coming up just one stick short of gathering the loose puck and turning the opportunity into a goal.
But with just six minutes left in the games, the United States would find an equalizer. After thwarting a Canadian 2-on-1 push, Monique Lamoureux would break free for the Americans during a poor shift change from Canada, finding the back of the net to tie the game 2-2.
After a few more missed opportunities by both teams, including yet another penalty kill by the Canadian defense, the gold medal game went to overtime for the second straight games. Hockey fans were in for yet another nailbiter.
Playing 4-on-4 sudden death in the extra period, both teams had plenty of chances, leaving fans at the edge of their seats for a game that could end at any moment. But neither team could finish, thanks in large part to a heroic effort from both goalies and a few distinct *dings* off the post. After 20 frightful but scoreless minutes, the gold medal came down to a shootout.
After the teams traded scores and stops through five shooters, even the shootout became sudden death. It was Jocelyne Lamoureux who would finally set the Americans ahead, with a phenomenal deke that left plenty of net open. At the other end of the ice, Maddie Rooney got the stop for the United States, and with it, the gold medal.
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