Canadian women’s hockey team wins Olympic gold with 2-0 win over United States
VANCOUVER — Canada is golden again in women’s Olympic hockey.
The Canadian women’s hockey team defended the gold medals won at the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games with a 2-0 win over archrival U.S. on Thursday at Canada Hockey Place.
Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que., the youngest player on the Canadian team at 18, scored a pair of goals in the first period, showing off her soft hands and quick release. Edmonton goaltender Shannon Szabados stopped all 28 shots for the shutout.
Szabados was an intriguing choice in net for her first start in an Olympic or world championship final. Coach Melody Davidson went with the 23-year-old over veterans Charline Labonte, the winning goalie in the 2006 Olympic final, and Kim St. Pierre, the starter in the 2002 championship game.
Szabados showed no rookie nerves to start the game, however. She came out of her net to play the puck and made glove saves with confidence. She kept the Americans off the scoreboard during five-on-three chances at the start of both the first and second periods. U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter made 27 saves.
Centre Meghan Agosta of Ruthven, Ont., was named tournament MVP.
“This medal is Canada’s medal,” said Agosta. “To be able to win a gold medal on home soil is an honour. We’re going to cherish the moment for the rest of our lives.”
Szabados was named to the allstar team, which also included American defencemen Angela Ruggiero and Molly Engstrom and forwards Agosta, Poulin and Jenny Potter of the U.S.
The Canadian men, who meet Slovakia in Friday’s semifinal, were on hand to watch the gold medal performance.
After the win, a few Canadian players skated around the ice waving a Canadian flag with a gold Maple Leaf in the centre while Becky Kellar brought her son Zach on the ice to help celebrate.
Fans cheered every Canadian player as they got their medals, with an especially loud reception for captain Hayley Wickenheiser and Poulin.
Defenceman Carla MacLeod of Calgary said the win on home soil was sweeter than four years ago in Turin.
“It feels better don’t kid yourself,” she said. “Look at it out there. This is unbelievable to have this many family and friends. We wanted it really bad.”
The three-peat Canadian club includes St. Pierre, Kellar, Wickenheiser, Cherie Piper, Colleen Sostorics, Caroline Ouellette, Jayna Hefford and Jennifer Botterill.
It was a dominant tournament for the Canadian women, who outscored their opposition 48-2 in five games. The Canadians opened with an 18-0 win over Slovakia and never looked back.
Davidson built her team with skilled defencemen who could generate scoring chances from the back end. The Canadian women rushed the puck through the neutral zone and went for the stretch pass a few times in the third period.
Canada respected the speed and skill of the U.S., however, and made sure to get a third man back when the U.S. gained control of the puck.