Two North American teams faced off as scheduled in the women’s ice hockey final game at the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Canada’s players played a better game and for the fifth time in history they won the Olympic gold medal. The American hockey players will receive silver medals, and the bronze medals will go to the team from Finland, which won over Switzerland in the match for third place.
Since women’s hockey was included in the program of the 1998 Winter Olympics, it has been completely dominated by the American and Canadian national teams. In the six out of five finals played so far, two teams from North America have faced off in the fight for the gold medal. Only once, in Turin in 2006, Canada’s rival in the battle for the most precious metal medal was the Swedish team. The United States then took third place. Heading into Thursday’s game, the balance of direct matches in the Olympic finals was more favorable for Canada, which has won four gold medals so far, including two for the United States.
The first threatening shot of this game was fired by the Americans, but the puck bounced off the post and went back onto the ice. The first minutes of the match seemed to belong to the American players, but the passage of time showed that their rivals were in better shape. In the seventh minute of the match, the Canadians scored a goal, but after video verification the goal was not considered an offside position by Natalie Spooner. The Maple Leaf national team reached their goal 35 seconds later when Sarah Nurse took the lead. The goal gave wings to her teammates, who completely regained the initiative in this part of the match. Five minutes before the first break, Marie-Philip Poulin added to the score. For the 30-year-old, it is a goal in the fourth consecutive Olympic final.
After 9 minutes of play in the second period, Poulin added another hit in the game and an eighth in the entire tournament, further increasing her advantage over her southern rivals. The Americans tried to start a fight and created more and more goal situations. Less than four minutes before the break, a contact goal, after a counterattack, was scored by Hilary Knight, while her teammate was serving a two-minute penalty and the Canadians were playing in front.
In the third period, the United States team tried to catch up, but their opponents controlled the flow of the game. With 13 seconds remaining, Amanda Kessel scored 3-2 and by introducing the striker in place of the goalkeeper, the United States tried to save the game by throwing her on the boards. There was not enough time for that and they had to recognize once again the superiority of the Canadian team.
Canada – USA 3-2 (2-0, 1:1, 0:1)
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