Olympic Roundup: Canada snags hockey gold from USA

Feb. 20, 2014 at 4:17 PM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The ice hockey heroics of Marie-Philip Poulin Thursday moved her into the kind of rarefied Canadian air occupied by the likes of Sidney Crosby.

With Canada's 19-game Olympic winning streak in women's hockey hanging by a thread, Poulin sent the gold medal game against the United States into overtime and then won it after 8 tense minutes of a four-on-four duel.

She did what Crosby did four years ago in Vancouver when his overtime score against the Americans won that gold medal battle.

Poulin ended one of the more stunning comebacks in the history of the Winter Olympics, bringing about the fourth consecutive Canadian gold medal in women's hockey after the United States had held a 2-0 lead heading into the game's final 4 minutes.

She did it at the end of a day in which a Russian woman won the individual gold in figure skating for the first time and the French celebrated what have officially become their best Winter Olympics.

With 17 medal events remaining during the final three days of the Games, the United States took the lead in the overall medals list.

The silver in hockey, as disappointing as it was for the Americans, and a gold won by Maddie Bowman in the debut of the freestyle skiing halfpipe, gave the United States 25 medals in all. Russia had 23 and the Netherlands had 22.

The lone Russian medal Thursday was a gold one, won by Adelina Sotnikova in figure skating. At age 17, she did something no other Russian woman had ever achieved, and ended the bid of South Korea's Yuna Kim to win her second straight figure skating title.

French competitors won four medals during the day -- three of them coming in the freestyle skiing cross competition.

Jean Frederic Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol produced the sixth medal sweep of the Olympics, four of the sweeps having come from the Netherlands in speed skating and another one from the Americans in the men's freestyle slopestyle event.

France also came up with a silver from Marie Martinod in the women's halfpipe, giving that country 15 medals for these Olympics. That is four more than the French have ever won before at the Winter Olympics and it has been 38 years since they have won that many at a Summer Games.

Although the finish in the Canada-U.S. hockey game was dramatic, the one at the nordic combined team competition was not bad.

After the ski jumping early in the day and 20 kilometers of cross-country skiing in the afternoon, it all came down to whether Joergen Graabak of Norway or Fabian Riessle of Germany had the most left in the tank.

It turned out to be Graabak, who edged Riessle by three-tenths of a second at the end of their 5-kilometer leg. Graabak had won gold in the large hill nordic combined competition earlier in the Olympics.

For pulsating drama at these Games, however, the women's hockey final will be hard to beat.

With the Americans having fallen back into a shell attempting to protect their 2-0 lead, Brianne Jenner gave Canada some life by scoring with 3:26 to play.

And then came a moment that will haunt the United States, one that could have clinched the victory.

Canada's net was empty after Shannon Szabados had gone to the bench for an extra attacker. The Americans almost capitalized when the puck was poked away from a Canadian player at the U.S. blue line. There was enough velocity on the puck to send it all the way down the ice and if it had gone in the net the celebrating would have begun among the Americans.

Instead it struck the left post and bounced away.

Poulin then took over, scoring with 55 seconds left in regulation to tie it and producing the game-winner 8:10 into overtime.

It was the second team championship of the day for Canada. The women's curling team from that country won their 11th straight match at these Olympics with a 6-3 decision over Sweden in the gold medal contest.

Americans and Canadians will meet again in hockey Friday when the men face each other in the semifinals.

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States will go after gold in the slalom, an event in which she has been the dominant force on the World Cup circuit.

The Netherlands will try to add to their speed skating medal total in the men's and women's team pursuit. Dutch speed skaters have won 21 medals at these Olympics. Four years ago in Vancouver they won seven.

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