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.

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