Canada’s hockey women take the gold after beating mighty U.S. 2-0
VANCOUVER — Canada kept the medal momentum going Thursday as the women’s hockey team grabbed the gold in a convincing 2-0 win over the United States.
Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que., scored twice and goaltender Shannon Szabados of Edmonton — an Olympic rookie — made 28 saves to notch the first-ever shutout win in an Olympic women’s hockey final.
The win followed a four-medal day for Canada — matching the country’s best one-day showing in a Winter Olympics — and came on the heels of a critical 7-3 win over Russia on the men’s side to keep alive the possibility of a sweep of the hockey golds.
Earlier on Thursday, Finland beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime to win the women’s hockey bronze medal.
On Wednesday, Canada won a gold and a silver in women’s two-man bobsled, a silver in the women’s 3,000-metre short-track relay and a bronze for speed-skater Clara Hughes in the women’s 5,000 metres, the last race of her career.
Canada has won four Winter Games medals in a single day only four other times: twice in Turin, Italy, in 2006, and twice in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Following Wednesday’s critical win over Russia, the men’s hockey team returns to the ice Friday to face Slovakia to determine which team will advance to contend for Olympic gold.
Alexander Medvedev, the president of the Russian domestic league, was still stinging a day after watching his national team get bounced by Canada. He said he was surprised by the poor play of his countrymen.
“Obviously experts and coaches should analyze, but I have feel- ing the game was lost in the first five minutes,” Medvedev said.
Earlier Thursday, Canada’s already-shining medal hopes in women’s curling got even brighter as Cheryl Bernard moved on to the final by knocking off two-time silver medallist Mirjam Ott of Switzerland 6-5.
Bernard took a 6-4 lead into the 10th end and won when Ott missed on a takeout attempt with her final stone. Ott was able to knock Bernard’s rock out of the rings but her shooter sailed too far, forcing the Swiss to settle for one.
Ott looked down at the ice in despair following the miss, while Bernard’s rink hugged in celebration.
The 43-year-old from Calgary moves on to the gold medal game today against Sweden’s Anette Norberg, the defending Olympic champion, who beat China 9-4 in the other semifinal.
Bernard would become the first Canadian woman to win Olympic curling gold since Sandra Schmirler in 1998.
“It wasn’t a stellar game, but I think the nerves and maybe a little bit of the inexperience kind of crept through,” Bernard said of her rink’s performance.
Kevin Martin, a perfect 9-0 in round-robin competition, advanced to the men’s curling final with a 6-3 victory over 24-year-old Niklas Edin of Sweden, who did Martin a favour Wednesday when he knocked off reigning world champion David Murdoch of Britain.
Martin’s rink will play Norway in the final on Saturday.
At the women’s free skate, Canada was waiting to see whether Joannie Rochette, the 24year-old from Ile-Dupas, Que., could deliver another top-tier performance in the wake of the death on the weekend of her 55-year-old-mother, Therese.
After a heart-wrenching, tearyeyed routine in Tuesday’s short program, Rochette was sitting in third place, behind Korean superstar Kim Yu-Na, whose coach is former Canadian figure skater Brian Orser, and Mao Asada of Japan.
Canadian players pose for a photo with their gold medals after defeating the USA during the women's final ice hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Thursday.