Cana­dian women’s hockey team wins Olympic gold with 2-0 win over United States

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY DONNA SPENCER

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.