Canada defeats USA to win women's hockey gold

SOCHI, Russia ( -- 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.

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