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(LIVE) Canada, Marie-Philip Poulin beat U.S. 3-2 in OT – Women's Ice Hockey Gold Final

11:50, OT

It's Marie-Philip Poulin AGAIN.

The same No. 29 who tied this gold medal final with 55 seconds to go in the third period gets the winner in overtime, as well, on a very brief 5-on-3 powerplay.

Canada works it around with precision, and Poulin gets a wide-open net. She doesn't miss.

Canada has just won their fourth straight Olympic gold medal in women's ice hockey, defeating the United States for the second time in this tournament.

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The Intro

Hayley Wickenheiser and her Canadian women's ice hockey team – captained by Caroline Ouellette, coached by former NHLer Kevin Dineen – go up against the United States today, in the gold medal final of the women's ice hockey tournament, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

A win for Canada would give its fourth straight gold medal, dating back to 2002 when it defeated this same American team. The Americans won gold in women's hockey's first year in the Olympics, in 1998 in Nagano.

Since then, Canada has topped the podium each time – once in the United States, once in Italy, and once in Canada – and defeated the United States 3-2 in this year's Olympic preliminary round.

8:37 a.m.

The biggest question here, for me, is how will each team start this game? The Americans came out flying in their preliminary round loss to Canada, but lost. The Americans are also coming off a 70-shot beat down of Sweden in their semifinal... if they play like that against Canada – well, if they play like that against anyone – it's hard to imagine any team topping the United States.

Canada has motivation, like any defending champion has motivation. The sort of, This is our turf. You can't take it. We own this. That kind of thing.

At the same time, the Olympics go every four years, and these teams see each other plenty in between then. Canada won in 2002 in Salt Lake City, way back when everyone thought the Americans were the powerhouse in women's hockey.

But now the Americans are the challengers, and this David is a lot closer in size to Canada's goliath.

8:45 a.m.

I have to say, congratulations to Switzerland, which beat Sweden 4-3 earlier today to win the Bronze Medal, their first.

Swiss goalie Florence Schelling is the undoubted breakout star of this year's Olympic women's hockey tournament, and the Swiss proved a tough out for everyone who played them, Canada included... our women defeated Schelling and the Swiss 3-1 to advance to today's gold medal final.

Players to Watch...

The United States

Amanda Kessel.

Because of her brother. And because, like her brother, she's pretty darn good.

Canada

Meghan Agosta.

Yeah, yeah, Hayley Wickenheiser, we know. But Agosta – who was the youngest player on Canada's gold medal-winning team in 2006, at 19 – has a knack for well-timed incredible-ness. She was the MVP of Canada's 2010 team, and she scored a sizzling breakway goal to put Canada ahead 3-1 over the U.S., just a few days ago.

That goal turned out to be the winner. Wickenheiser is the brand and Ouellette is the captain, but Canada will need Agosta to be the star (again) if they want to beat the United States.

15:57, 1st period...

The puck drops, and Wickenheiser is immediately disrupting the Americans not the center – not with her play, mind you, but her physicality and her general annoyingness. (Annoyingness in a good way, as an agitator.)

When the Canadians and Americans play, it's easily the most physical matchup you'll see in women's hockey, and Tara Watchorn takes a bodychecking penalty because of it, Dan Hamhuis-ing a streaking American to the left side of Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados.

Szabados makes a couple incredible saves, one a flashy glove off an American one-timer above the slot, the next a pad save that he kicks high and wide.

Canada kills the penalty.

Canada 0, United States 0

11:59, 1st period...

A completely careless penalty by Canada's Meaghan Mikkelson sends the Americans to the powerplay again, their second in only six minutes to start this gold medal final.

Canada kills the penalty, with more tremendous goaltending from Shannon Szabados and desperate defending from Jocelyn Larocque.

The Americans' Hilary Knight takes a penalty, and Canada survives the first eight minutes of this final.

Canada 0, United States 0

5:37, 1st period...

Canada puts the pressure on during their powerplay, with some quality scrambles and near-shots from Wickenheiser and Agosta, but the Americans kill it off.

When play finally returns to 5-on-5, Canada controls the pace. Today, they were more physical, faster, and (honestly) a little more desperate to win than the United States.

But their momentum is suspended when Canadian defender Tara Watchorn lays out American Brianna Decker.

The Americans head back to their own powerplay and, unlike in 2002, the Canadians can't blame the referees for their undisciplined play.

Canada 0, United States 0

1st Intermission

Since the Americans killed that short(er) Canadian powerplay, they've been threatening – a couple very solid, very necessary saves from Canada's goalie Szabados, and some 2-on-1s and odd-man rushes for the stars and stripes, all of them each broken up by Canada or broken up by poor passing.

Canada comes back with a couple chances of their own, and American goalie Jessie Vetter makes some saves of her own, with a notable glove hand to stop Canada's #24, Natalie Spooner.

Canada starts with all the speed and all the desire, but they couldn't score. The Americans lead in shots 11-9.

Into the intermission, it's dead even on the scoreboard. It's dead even all around.

Canada 0, United States 0

16:49, 2nd period

Best player so far, for my money? Canada's Natalie Spooner.

Agosta has been all over the ice and Wickenheiser has been the anchor (like, she's been stable and reliable, not that she's bringing them down) but Spooner has been the rover and has been Canada's best possession player, so far.

You still get the sense the Americans are lurking though, just ready to break out. They haven't looked very threatening 5-on-5 yet, but the longer this game stays 0-0, the worse it gets for the team that has been the best early on, and that would be Canada.

Canada 0, United States 0

10:30, 2nd period

Again the 5-on-5 pressure is a lot of a little, with a couple needed saves (finally) from the United States's Jessie Vetter. Canada puts the pressure on and the Americans take a penalty, with Kelli Stack finally losing composure.

Stack gets two minutes for hooking. She has been battling with Wickenheiser all game.

The Americans kill the penalty, dropping Canada's powerplay conversion to 0-for-3.

Canada gets the best chance of the period, so far, with Natalie Spooner finding Meghan Agosta at the side of the net. Her one-timer is robbed – emphatically – by the left bad of Vetter.

Canada 0, United States 0

8:20, 2nd period

Jayne Hefford is snuffed out by American goaltender Jessie Vetter, and the Americans are still unable to clear their zone consistently. It's been basically all Canada at 5-on-5, especially in this second period.

Hefford, Rebecca Johnston, and Marie-Philip Poulin had Canada's best shift of the game, so far, but we unable to score against Vetter.

Canada 0, United States 0

8:00, 2nd period

GOAL – UNITED STATES

And just like that, the Americans strike. Meghan Duggan's screened shot zips past the glove of Shannon Szabados, and the United States takes a 1-0 lead.

Little pressure at all for the Americans today, but they strike properly.

(On another note, how come everyone named Megan in this game spells it with an 'H'?)

United States 1, Canada 0

2:35, 2nd period

Canada gets two straight powerplays – and a very short two-player advantage – but can't convert on both. Some greta goaltending, some even greater play from the American skaters, shot-blocking and disrupting Canada's flow.

A shorthanded opportunity for the U.S.'s Jocelyne Lamoureux takes three Canadians to break up, with two slashes from Canada's backcheckers and a poke check from goalie Szabados.

The referee lets a couple penalty calls for each team go, and the Americans still lead as the second period winds to a close.

United States 1, Canada 0

2nd Intermission

Hilary Knight is finally making an impact. Well, we've heard her name, at least... Knight gets a one-timer but it's stopped by Szabados, who has deflected every shot she has seen so far.

The Canadians played a superior second period to the Americans, no doubt aided by a couple powerplays, but the Americans are the only team to put one away.

Meghan Duggan's first goal of the tournament and the only goal of this game is still the one difference.

United States 1, Canada 0

16:41, 3rd period

GOAL – UNITED STATES

I had a second-intermission shower, I come out, and the Americans get their second straight goal, a beautiful redirection by the U.S.'s Alex Carpenter.

She has been one of the more noticeable Americans all game, which shows that it's either been a team effort or that it's been a less-than-overpowering effort.

Either way, the Americans have a two-goal lead and Canada's time is running out, if it wasn't already.

*For those who haven't played hockey, that tip-in Carpenter had – that cross-ice, high-speed, slightly airborne tip back across your body – is tremendously difficult. You essentially just close your eyes, put your stick down, and hope it works out.

It did.

United States 2, Canada 0

10:30, 3rd period

The Americans have been blocking everything thrown their way all game, and it looks like it's going to work out.

The Canadians are pressuring, but American goalie Jessie Vetter has been perfect so far and hasn't let a rebound go.

The United States, as a result, has had several chances off counter attacks, the latest coming from Hilary Knight and Alex Carpenter. It was saved by Shannon Szabados, but Canada needs offence from now on... relying on your goaltender to keep it close will only get you Silver.

United States 2, Canada 0

6:25, 3rd period

This American team looks like it was coached by Gordon Bombay.

They're clearing everything, blocking everything, and they're finally taking over. They've been okay for most of the game, but Canada worked them over at full strength in the first two periods.

Shannon Szabados has to make a couple more nice saves for Canada, and the Americans still have that two-goal lead.

The United States also leads in shots, 28-27.

United States 2, Canada 0

4:30, 3rd period

Even with a two-goal lead and just a few minutes remaining – which is normally when the trailer will make a move or two to catch up – the Americans haven't relinquished control. Their third period has been a thing of beauty, and the Canadians look like they're out of answers.

Did that preliminary round, 3-2 win by Canada work to the Americans' advantage?

United States 2, Canada 0

3:05, 3rd period

GOAL – CANADA

HOLY COW... Scratch whatever I just wrote.

Canadian No. 19 Brianne Jenner cuts down the left wing, power moves into the middle, and her tipped wrist shots goes up and over the glove of American goalie Jessie Vetter.

The Americans lead is cut in half, and there are still three minutes to play.

United States 2, Canada 1

1:35, 3rd period

I still say that Canada's No. 24 – Natalie Spooner – has been the game's best player. She's like the female Russell Wilson, leading everything from the backend with poise and a little bit of creativity.

Spooner breaks in and dekes out the American defence, then dekes out American goalie Jessie Vetter, and puts it just wide.

Spooner went in and out on three American defenders, and did it with plenty of speed, but the lead stays.

United States 2, Canada 1

1:14, 3rd period

GOAL POST.

With Canada's net empty, American Kelli Stack picks up the puck along Canada's boards and flips it down the ice... and it hits the post.

That would be been it, for sure. Now, Canada has a faceoff and has taken a time out. With 1:14 left, it's far from over.

United States 2, Canada 1

0:45, 3rd period

CANADA GOAL

With their goalie pulled, Marie-Philip Poulin picks up a bobbled puck in front of Jessie Vetter and flips it over the American goalie.

Hayler Wickenheiser had a chance, as well, and now it's tied with under a minute to go...

Folks, we're going to overtime. I think.

Canada 2, United States 2

OT Intermission

Folks, we're going to overtime.

16:39, OT

It was ALL America early, and Shannon Szabados had to make a number of successive, stupendous saves for Canada, but it stays scoreless.

Canada has evened it up and are cycling well in the American zone, but it's wide-open at this point. Either team could win this.

Americans lead in OT shots, 4-3.

Canada 2, United States 2

13:25, OT

Catherine Ward has had a tremendous game for Canada, but she takes a bonehead penalty after 6:09 of overtime.

She lays out a sprawling Anne Schleper at the side of Canada's net, and the Americans go to a powerplay.

But then, only six seconds after, U.S. forward Jocelyne Lamoreux takes her own penalty – a slash on Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados.

It's now 3-on-3 on the big ice, with a full 13.5 minutes to play.

Canada 2, United States 2

12:29, OT

Hilary Knight blows a pass to Anne Schleper, Hayley Wickenheiser gets a breakaway, and then Knight chases her down and pulls her down with only the goalie to beat.

The referee gives the United States a penalty for cross-checking, and everyone in Canada is surely hollering for a PENALTY SHOT.

Knight, meanwhile, is arguing the penalty.

Nobody's happy, but the result won't change – Canada will get a 4-on-3 in overtime, and it's sudden death.

Canada 2, United States 2

11:50, OT

GOLDEN GOAL – CANADA

THAT'S IT!!!

It's Marie-Philip Poulin AGAIN.

The same No. 29 who tied this gold medal final with 55 seconds to go in the third period gets the winner in overtime, as well, on a very brief 5-on-3 powerplay.

Canada works it around with precision, and Poulin gets a wide-open net. She doesn't miss.

Canada has just won their fourth straight Olympic gold medal in women's ice hockey, defeating the United States for the second time in this tournament.

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Your new hero, Canada?

That would be Marie-Philip Poulin. And Hayley Wickenheiser just won her fourth gold medal in her fifth Winter Olympics with Canada.

The best player tonight? In my opinion, Natalie Spooner, who was a rock with speed and hands for Canada all game long.

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VIDEO: Brianne Jenner makes it 2-1 late in the third period

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VIDEO: Marie-Philip Pulin ties it at two with 55 seconds remaining

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VIDEO: The Golden Goal and the Post-Game with Marie-Philip Poulin

 

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