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Canada wins gold in women’s hockey, beating USA in overtime

Watch the video above: The Canadian women’s hockey team pulled off a nail-biting win over their longtime rivals – Team USA. Eric Sorensen reports on the gold medal glory.

Another chapter in a classic hockey rivalry is in the books. And it ended in the most dramatic fashion.

Team Canada faced off against the U.S. for the gold medal in the women’s Olympic hockey tournament.

Canada was looking for its fourth Olympic gold medal in a row, and they got it eight minutes into an intense overtime period.

Thursday’s game – characterized by penalties and goaltending – tipped in the favour of the U.S. throughout the first two periods, with the Americans leading Canada 2-0.

Both teams upped the intensity in the third period, and with minutes left in regulation, Canada added two goals, tying the game up 2-2.

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Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin scored in the third to tie the game and again in overtime – giving Canada the gold medal.

Watch the video below: Canada’s golden girl Marie-Philip Poulin talks about the incredible comeback and scoring the golden goal

First period

Goalie Shannon Szabados started in net for Team Canada. She was on the gold-medal winning team in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, getting two shutouts in the tournament, including in the gold medal game against the U.S.

Szabados also got a shutout in Sochi against Finland, and let one across the blue line in Canada’s 3-1 win against Switzerland.

Jessie Vetter started in net for the U.S. (she was also in net during the final game of the 2010 Olympics). Vetter has played in three of four games for the Americans in Sochi, with a record of two wins and one loss (against Canada).

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The first period was physical, with both teams heading to the penalty box multiple times.

Szabados kept Canada alive, making huge saves while the Americans were on consecutive power plays.

Canada took its third penalty of the period 14 minutes in. Tara Watchorn got two minutes for tripping, her second penalty of the game.

The U.S. took two penalties in the first period.

The Americans outshot Canada 11-9 in the first, neither team managed to make the scoreboard.

Second period

The U.S. opened the scoring nearly two minutes into the second period. Meghan Duggan got the goal (her first of the tournament), with Jocelyne Lamoureux assisting.

The Canadians had a huge opportunity to even the score as the U.S. took two penalties 30 seconds apart, giving Canada the two-player advantage. But Canada was unable to capitalize and the U.S. went back to full strength with the score still 1-0.

Canada outshot the U.S. 8-5 in the second period.

Third period

The U.S. widened its lead to 2-0 with a power play goal from Alex Carpenter, assisted by Hilary Knight and Kelli Stack.

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Both teams upped the intensity in the third, Canada switching up their line combinations and the U.S. continuing to play a physical game, the U.S. defence shutting down the Canadian attackers, playing one of their best games of the tournament. As the clock ticked down, the speed of the Americans became more and more evident.

With three and a half minutes to go in the game, Canada’s Brianne Jenner got her first goal of the tournament, making it a one-goal game.

Szabados headed to the bench to give Canada the extra attacker, with a minute and a half left on the clock.

With less than a minute left in regulation Canada’s Poulin scored, sending the game to overtime.

Overtime

Because it’s a gold medal game, the teams went to a 20-minute, sudden death overtime.

Canada took a penalty in OT, Catherine Ward got two minutes for cross-checking. The U.S. took a slashing penalty seconds later, evening it up to three-on-three hockey (Olympic OT is played four-on-four).

On a breakaway play for Canada, American Hilary Knight took down Hayley Wickenheiser, drawing a penalty and giving Canada a fourth attacker back on the ice.

Poulin got the golden goal for Canada on the power play, reviving memories of 2010 when she scored Canada’s only two goals in the final game against the U.S., a game they won 2-0.

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Watch the video below: Team Canada goalie Shannon Szabados looks back on the stunning comeback and the lucky bounce off the post

Canada’s Olympic flag-bearer Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette now join Soviet biathlete Alexander Tikhonov and German speedskater Claudia Pechstein as gold medallists in four consecutive Winter Games.

Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Hilary Knight #21 of the United States fights for control of the puck against Meaghan Mikkelson #12 and Shannon Szabados #1 of Canada during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
US Alex Carpenter (C) celebrates after scoring during the Women's Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game between Canada and USA at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Brianne Jenner #19 of Canada celebrates scoring a third-period goal against the United States with teammate Catherine Ward #18 during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. . Martin Rose/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin (R) celebrates after scoring during the Women's Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game between Canada and USA at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014. . ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Canada's Hayley Wickenheiser (R) vies with US Hilary Knight during the Women's Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game between Canada and USA at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014. . JUNG YEON-JE / AFP/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring and winning the Women's Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game between Canada and USA at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014. JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images
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Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Marie-Philip Poulin #29 of Canada celebrates with teammates after scoring the game-winning goal against the United States in overtime as Anne Schleper #15 and Michelle Picard #23 of the United States react during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Caroline Oullette #13 and Melodie Daoust #15 of Canada celebrate after defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Meaghan Mikkelson #12 of Canada celebrates after defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Canada vs USA: Women’s Olympic hockey gold medal game
Gold medalists Canada celebrate during the flower ceremony for the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Harry How/Getty Images

Leading up to the gold medal game

Thursday’s matchup comes as no surprise – Canada and the U.S. have dominated the women’s hockey tournament since its inclusion in the Winter Olympics in 1998.

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Canada and the U.S. were once again the dominant teams throughout the Sochi games; Canada went into the gold medal game with a perfect record and the only game the U.S. lost was to Canada in a thrilling preliminary game.

Watch the video below: Golden comeback for Canada shows how much women’s hockey has grown in this country. Rob Leth reports.

The Canadian women were the reigning gold medallists, but their Sochi tournament has had its ups and downs.

Their best game of the tournament prior to Thursday’s comeback victory had been against the U.S. in the preliminary round, where they won 3-2.

But the team took a lot of penalties against the Swiss during their semifinal game, something head coach Kevin Dineen was concerned about heading into Thursday’s game.

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While they can get away with taking penalties against weaker teams, it was a different story against the fast and talented American squad.

In other hockey news

In a dramatic finish, Switzerland scored four goals in the third period, beating Sweden 4-3 after trailing by two goals through the first two periods.

Switzerland takes the bronze medal in the women’s Olympic hockey tournament; it’s the team’s first medal in Olympic hockey.

With a file from The Canadian Press