Canada beat fierce rivals the United States 3-2 to win women’s Olympic ice hockey gold on Thursday, avenging a loss in the final four years ago and capping a dominant run in Beijing.
Canada led 3-0 in the second period and held on to win, despite being out-shot in the game 40-21, to collect the country’s fifth Olympic gold medal in the event.
Canada suffered heartbreak in Pyeongchang in 2018 when they came into the gold medal match on a 24-game winning streak but ended up losing to the US in a shootout.
“Coming off 2018 and having that silver medal, it felt like the weight of the world was on our shoulders,” said forward Sarah Nurse.
“Having this gold, it’s going to feel as light as ever.”
No other country has won women’s ice hockey gold in the seven Olympic Games since the event debuted in Nagano in 1998. Canada has won five of those and the US two.
“It was one hell of an effort. This is redemption,” said Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored twice in the game.
The United States arrived in Beijing ranked number one in the world, but a gold medal for the second-ranked Canadians soon seemed inevitable.
Canada blitzed the field, finishing 7-0, including an earlier 4-2 win over the Americans.
After that game, Canada’s Natalie Spooner cranked the rivalry up a notch by saying the US “does not belong on the ice with us”.
Canada outscored their opponents 57-10 and Canadian players occupied the top six spots on the Beijing points leaderboard.
Canada pounced early against their neighbors with first-period goals by Nurse and Poulin, the two top points leaders.
Poulin made it 3-0 in the second period, but Hilary Knight gave the Americans a glimmer of hope with a breakaway goal despite the US being shorthanded due to a penalty.
The US added a final goal in the dying seconds, followed by jubilant Canadian celebrations and American tears at the buzzer.
Knight said her teammates were “willing to go through a wall for each other” but didn’t quite play to their potential.
“At the end of the day, I’m proud of our effort,” she said.