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Canada completes comeback in OT, beats USA for women's hockey gold

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Canada 3, USA 2 FINAL

Canada scored halfway through the overtime period on a power play to complete a thrilling comeback over the USA and win a fourth straight gold medal by a final score of 3-2.

The Americans were holding on to a 2-0 lead with less than four minutes go, four minutes away from winning the first gold medal since 1998. As the clock ticked under 3:30 to play, Brianne Jenner was finally able to find the back of the net for Canada, getting a little help off an American defender to make the game 2-1 and give Canada a chance.

The clock went down to 1:35 to play and Canada pulled goalie Shannon Svabados for the extra attacker. Seconds later the USA came within an eyelash of adding the empty-net insurance goal from the far blue line but the puck hit the post and stopped dead before Canada could retrieve it.

Then with 54 seconds left, Canada was able to get the puck below the goal line and got it out front. That's where Marie-Philip Poulin picked it up on the doorstep and beat Vetter to tie the game, erasing USA's 2-0 lead.

That set up an overtime period, a 4-on-4 period for 20 minutes with the golden goal format. That's when penalties started to shape the story of the game and the USA went on the power play. But just five seconds into the power play, the USA was called for a slash and that set up 3-on-3 action for 1:55. On the 3-on-3, Canada got a breakaway and Hilary Knight was forced to commit a penalty. Hayley Wickenheiser wasn't awarded a penalty shot, instead Canada went on the power play. On the 4-on-3, Canada worked the puck around the zone and that's where Poulin found the net gaping on the far side as she put it in for the golden goal, sending Canada into celebration.

USA opened the scoring in the second period on a goal from Meghan Duggan when she was able to find a hole in the Canadian defense and wire a shot to the top corner in a period in which the USA was otherwise mostly outplayed.

The Third period began with a penalty to Canada right away and the US converted on the ensuing power play with a goal from Alex Carpenter to take a 2-0 lead. They had a few more excellent chances but couldn't add any insurance before the Canadian barrage came in the closing minutes.

With the win, Canada has now won 20 consecutive games at the Olympics and four straight gold medals. However coming into the Olympics the Americans had Canada's number with five straight wins against their rivals. That went out the window in Sochi, though, as the two games in the Olympics couldn't have been more equal.

Undoubtedly it was one of the most entertaining games you can hope to see in hockey, an intensity that only Canada and the USA can provide in the women's game.

Review the game with our in-game live blog below.

11:50 -- GOAL, CANADA!

It's Poulin again and that's the game, gold medal to Canada! Canada was passing very well on the 4-on-3 power play and then Poulin gets a wide open net and she buries it. Canada wins a fourth straight gold medal and wins a 20th straight game at the Olympics.

12:20, OT -- We all are, Roberto. We all are.

12:29, OT -- Penalty, USA

Hayley Wickenheiser gets free on a break and is taken down from behind by Hilary Knight. How was that not a penalty shot? The referees are getting involved in this game too much and not in a good way right now.

13:45, OT -- Penalty, USA

Right off the draw, the USA gets a shot and Jocelyn Lamoureux takes a soft swing at Svabados after she catches the puck. Somehow that was good enough for slash. That was one of the softest call you'll ever see.

13:51, OT -- Power Play, USA

The pressure from the Americans results in a penalty against Canada as the USA crashes the crease. Catherine Ward goes to the box for two minutes. Remember, this will be a 4-on-3 situation, a ton of ice will be available. Timeout, USA.

17:13, OT -- It's Canada's turn to get some pressure on the Americans but Vetter is there for the save. Scoring chances are coming at a rate of about one per five seconds in this overtime. Or at least it feels that way.

18:46, OT -- The Americans come out with a barrage of shots on the Canadian net but Svabados makes a couple of fantastic saves. This is amazing hockey.

20:00, OT -- Game on! Golden goal rules.

OT Intermission -- Everybody in hockey is watching right now, even the NHLers back at practice in North America.

OT Intermission

Here's how we ended up with a tie game, Poulin's goal (@PeteBlackburn). Perhaps Vetter's biggest mistake of the game was not covering this puck but trying to play it.

End of Regulation

Take a chance and breathe, we have a break before overtime begins. Perhaps that's good because it gives everybody a chance to reconsider the last few minutes of this game. No matter who you root for, it's impossible to deny this is one heck of a hockey game and now it has the drama to match.

In overtime they will play a full 20 minutes at 4-on-4. If there is no winner at that point then they will go the shootout. Please oh please don't let this game be decided by a shootout, hockey gods. That would be a travesty.

0:54 -- GOAL, CANADA!

Holy smokes, this game is tied! Canada keeps on pushing and with the extra attacker the are able to get a good cyble going. The puck makes its way to the front of the crease and there's Marie-Philip Poulin to beat Vetter and tie this game. This game deserves a few more minutes.

1:14 3rd Period -- POST! USA hits the post from the opposite blue line when the linesman gets in the way of the Canadian defender. Oh so close. Timeout, Canada. If you aren't excited right now, you don't have a pulse. Here's how close it was (via @Guyism).

1:35, 3rd Period -- Svabados is out of the net, Canada has the extra attacker on the ice.

1:59, 3rd Period -- Close call! Natalie Spooner goes strong to the net and gets all the way down to Vetter but the goalie gets the stop when she tries to cut back across the net.

3:26, 3rd Period -- GOAL, CANADA!

Hang on to your hats! Canada drives hard right into the American defense and Brianne Jenner finally gets a shot past Vetter to make this a one-goal game.

5:27, 3rd Period -- Still not much going for Canada here, the US just won't let them get set up. Despite the fact that Canada is the team pushing for offense right now, the USA holds the 8-6 edge in shots in this period.

7:29, 3rd Period -- The Americans are putting on a clinic of how to play with a lead right now. They are keeping the puck to the boards, trying to get up ice when they can and closing the gaps in the defensive zone. It's not a complete onslaught at their net right now.

9:10, 3rd Period -- The USA isn't sitting back on this lead at all. They keep coming at Canada in waves right now and are trying to keep the puck at the other end of the ice. The shifts are short as the clock continues to wind.

11:38, 3rd Period -- If you were looking for a play that demonstrates that American speed, Hilary Knight just showed it. She raced by the Canadian defense to get a mini break but can't score. Still, an impressive showing. The Americans are flying across the ice.

13:11, 3rd Period -- Before we completely move on from that Alex Carpenter goal, let's take this chance to remind you she is the daughter of former NHLer Bobby Carpenter. This is baby Alex with the Stanley Cup. Safety first!

14:30, 3rd Period -- American goalie Jessie Vetter continues to look extremely comfortable in net. Canada is coming with the push after the USA goal and Vetter continues to stay quiet and handle the pucks well. She's got 14 more minutes of this to go.

17:59, 3rd Period -- GOAL, USA!

Tremendous patience on the power play for the Ameicans and that leads to Hilary Knight's terrific pass through the slot over to Alex Carpenter who sneaks onto the doorstep and puts the puck in for the 2-0 USA lead.

19:53, 3rd Period -- Power Play, USA

Just seven seconds into the period and Canada is going on the PK again. Guess who is in the box? Yup, it's Watchorn again, this time with the trip. Not exactly how Canada wanted to start the final period down a goal.

USA 1, CAN 0 -- 2nd Intermission

The second period was played at a much tigher pace and in a way that seemed to favor Canada yet it was the USA that got the first goal on the board with Meghan Duggan's shot through traffic. The one thing that was working for the USA was using their superior speed in spurts when they had the chance and that speed helped lead to the Duggan goal, getting up ice in a hurry. In that period Canada outshot the USA 8-5 and had a lot of other attempts that made Jessie Vetter stay active in net. Obviously this game isn't close to over yet. Remember, last week when these teams played, the USA had a one-goal lead going into the third period and lost. Stay tuned.

0:18, 2nd Period -- Canadian friends, care to explain?

1:46, 2nd Period -- American women's star Gigi Marvin and American men's star T.J. Oshie. In high school. Yes, that's Oshie in the frosted hair. Weren't the late 90s/early 2000s glorious?

3:46, 2nd Period -- Penalty Killed

What a huge kill for the USA there. They handled the 5-on-3 well and then disrupted the flow on Canada's 5-on-4 as well. They were blocking shots and got a few clears in the process. That was the most efficient PK of this game for either side, Canada didn't get a single shot on net.

5:16, 2nd Period -- First Penalty Killed

5:46, 2nd Period -- Penalty, USA

On the PK, the USA takes another penalty as Schleper goes to the box. Canada took a lot of time off the clock there to take away from the 5-on-3 time, about 20 seconds or so. As it is, there will still be 30 seconds or so on the 5-on-3 before another 1:30 of 5-on-4. Big moment here to put it mildly.

7:14, 2nd Period -- Power Play, Canada

After a long delay, the referees sort it out and the call is too many players against the USA.

7:20, 2nd Period -- Picabo!

8:03, 2nd Period -- GOAL, USA!

After spending a lot of time in the defensive zone, the USA gets the puck up ice and Duggan finds the puck on the left faceoff dot. She sees a small hole through traffic and finally beats Szabados to the far high corner. What a terrific shot. (@PeteBlackburn)

10:45, 2nd Period -- Penalty Killed

Canada gets one excellent look but Duggan interferes with the attempt right on the doorstep, allowing Vetter to get over and stop the puck. Outside of that, there wasn't a ton going on that power play for Canada, at least in comparison to the first period.

12:50, 2nd Period -- Power Play, Canada

Canada gets a lot of sustained offensive zone pressure against a tired American group that was stuck on the ice and Kelli Stack eventual takes a penalty. With how the Canadians were starting to buzz, this is a tense moment for the USA.

14:17, 2nd Period -- Action is nowhere near as open to start the second period as the teams are tightening up. Through almost six minutes shots on net are just 2-1 in favor of Canada in this period.

17:48, 2nd Period -- This is dedication. Love the passion, Mr. USA Hockey fan.

Meanwhile, Dan Bylsma is trying to figure out how to work his camera.

20:00, 2nd Period -- The second is underway. Both teams start at even strength.

First Intermission

Look who is on hand to watch today's game (and he's not the only one).

USA 0, CAN 0, First Intermission

We're scoreless after one period but that was anything but a boring period of hockey. The American and Canadian women's team are the class of the sport and it's showing. The action is fast, the play is physical (by women's hockey standards) and the chances are coming fast and furious. Both goalies were exceptional in the first period with Shannon Szabados being asked to do just a little more than USA's Jessie Vetter. First period shots favored the USA 11-9 but that's just shots on net, there was a lot ore action than that. If the first period was any indication of what awaits for the next 40 (or more) minutes, we're in for a treat.

1:21, 1st Period -- Brianna Decker takes the drop pass on the rush and gets a really good look from the slot but once again Szabados is there for the stop. Canada goes down to the other end and gets a shot on Vetter. How can you not like this hockey?

2:29, 1st Period -- Penalty Killed

Canada had 1:20 of power play time there but didn't get a whole lot goin, at least in comparison to the other power plays in this game. That's five power plays in the first period, five penalties killed. The pace to this game is fantastic.

4:30, 1st Period -- Penalty, USA

The USA gets caught in a line change that springs Canada's Haley Irwin on a partial breakaway so Kacey Bellamy takes what has to be considered a good penalty to negate the scoring chance. Abbreviated Canadian power play coming up.

5:56, 1st Period -- Power Play, USA

Watchorn is one again going to the sin bin for two minutes and the power play unit will come out again. She'll learn at some point in this game that the checking isn't going to fly. (She knows this, just goes to show emotions are high).

6:00, 1st Period -- Since getting back at even strength, the game has been a contest mostly in the neutral zone. Puck is going up and down but there's very little offensive zone possession.

9:59, 1st Period -- Penalty Killed

Like the USA power plays, Canada gets a few excellent looks but no goals. The netminders are absolutely being tested in this game and so far they have been strong. Shots are 9-6 USA.

11:59, 1st Period -- Penalty, USA

After almost two minutes of constant pressure on the power play, Hilary Knight gets called for cross-checking in the corner. There will be 12 seconds of 4-on-4 play before Canada will go on the power play. The USA once again had a ton of great looks but no goals.

13:47, 1st Period -- Power play, USA

The Americans are going right back on the power play as Meaghan Mikkelson gets two minutes for roughing. The USA had great pressure on the last power play, they're looking for the same this time but with a payoff.

15:58, 1st Period -- Penalty Killed

The US looks good on the power play, getting a lot of quality looks. None greater than when Schleper gets a great look from the slot but Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados makes a great glove save. She looks very sharp in the first few minutes of this game game. Americans had five shots on that power play. (GIF via @PeteBlackburn)

17:59, 1st Period -- Power Play, USA

Tara Watchorn goes to the box to feel shame after a great hip check. The problem is, checking is not allowed in the women's game. So the USA get the two-minute advantage.

18:52, 1st Period -- Each team gets an initial shot on net just to test the goalies in the opening minute, nothing too threatening.

20:00, 1st Period -- The gold-medal game is a GO!

12:07 p.m. -- Forget the gold medal, THESE are some serious stakes on this game.

12:03 p.m. -- Reminder (and if you didn't read the preview below), the game is on NBC today in the States, not NBCSN or any other channel. The women get the big network.

11:52 a.m. -- The trash talk is on. Here's a taste of it from the Canadian perspective. I laughed.

11:46 a.m. -- Earlier this morning, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sat down with Al Michaels on NBCSN's live Olympic coverage and was asked about a Women's NHL. Bettman said the NHL has looked into it but at this point it's not viable and more time (and development) is needed.

11:40 a.m. -- Both teams have hit the ice. The USA will be in white today while the Canadians are wearing the red.

11:22 a.m. -- Here are the lines for the American women in the gold-medal game. They will play with 11 forwards and seven on defense.

Hilary Knight-Kelli Stack-Alex Carpenter
Kendall Coyne-Brianna Decker-Amanda Kessel
Meghan Duggan (C)-Jocelyn Lamoureux-Monique Lamoureux
Lyndsey Fry-Julie Chu

Anne Schleper-Megan Bozek
Kacey Bellamy-Gigi Marvin
Michelle Picard-Josephine Pucci
Lee Stecklein

Jessie Vetter
Molly Schauss

11:15 a.m. -- Some of the American women take to the bench early to get a look at the ice and prepare for the big game. This is going to be intense.

_____

Preview

By Andrew Dewitt

The Facts

Who: United States vs. Canada

What: Gold medal game

When: Noon ET Thursday on NBC

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia

Olympic Series History

Canada leads 3-2

1998 Group: United States 7, Canada 4
1998 Gold medal game: United States 3, Canada 1
2002 Gold medal game: Canada 3, United States 2
2010 Gold medal game: Canada 2, United States 0
2014 Group: Canada 3, United States 2

Odds

From Bovada.lv

Sochi 2014 - Women's Olympic Hockey Gold Medal Game

Canada Women +120 (6/5)
USA Women -140 (5/7)

WOMEN'S (CAN @ USA)- Total goals in the game

Over/Under 4½

WOMEN'S (CAN @ USA) - Total saves in the game - Charline Labonté (CAN)

Over/Under 28½

WOMEN'S (CAN @ USA) - Total saves in the game - Jessie Vetter (USA)

Over/Under 28

WOMEN'S (CAN @ USA) - Team to score first wins the game?

Yes -200 (1/2)
No +160 (8/5)

WOMEN'S (CAN @ USA) - Will the game end in a regulation tie?”

Yes +320 (16/5)
No -450 (2/9)

WOMEN'S (CAN @ USA) - Margin of Victory

Canada by 1 goal 11/4
Canada by 2 goals 11/2
Canada by 3 goals 13/2
Canada by 4 goals 16/1
Canada by 5 or more goals 25/1

USA 1 goal 5/2
USA by 2 goals 5/1
USA by 3 goals 6/1
USA by 4 goals 16/1
USA by 5 or more goals 25/1

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