U.S. wins women's hockey gold in shootout to end Canadian Olympic reign

Canada's reign as four-time Olympic women's hockey champions ended in a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scores winner in 6th round of shootout

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, left, scored the golden goal on Canadian netminder Shannon Szabados in a shootout. (Srdjan Suki/EPA-EFE)

By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

Canada's reign as Olympic women's hockey champions ended in a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the shootout winner for the Americans, who earned their first gold since a 3-1 win over the Canadians at the inaugural Olympic women's hockey tournament in Nagano in 1998.

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Her twin, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, tied the game in the third period after Canada scored twice in the second to rebound after Hilary Knight's opening goal.

Canadian teams had won the last four Olympic titles, including three against the U.S. The loss denied the team a chance to surpass the four consecutive titles won by previous Canadian and Soviet men's hockey teams. Coincidentally, the U.S. women's win comes exactly 38 years after the fabled "Miracle on Ice." 

Goalie Maddie Rooney made 29 saves, only allowing regulation goals to Canadians Haley Irwin and Marie-Philip Poulin. Rooney, originally from Duluth, Minn., made four saves in the shootout, including the deciding stop on Meghan Agosta after she scored on the 20-year-old netminder earlier in the shootout.

"This medal really hurts," said Mélodie Daoust, whose Peter Forsberg-esque shootout goal gave Canada a brief edge. "It's painful."

Canada and the U.S. have met in five of the six women's hockey gold-medal games, with the lone exception being a Canada-Sweden final in 2006.

Fast-paced, hard-hitting final

The physicality from the teams' preliminary-round game — which Canada won 2-1 — carried over into the final, but it was the Canadians who were whistled three times in the first period for infractions. Canada was penalized six times in the final, compared to the three calls against the U.S.

Canada equalized two minutes into the second period when Irwin batted a Blayre Turnbull floater out of mid-air and past Rooney. Poulin broke the 1-1 deadlock in the second by powering a one-timer from Agosta past Rooney.

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"She is the greatest clutch hockey player of all time," CBC analyst Cheryl Pounder said about Poulin.

The goal was Poulin's third of the tournament and her fifth in Olympic gold medal games after scoring twice each in both the Vancouver and Sochi finals.

"I don't think an Olympic final should come out on a shootout, but that's part of it," Poulin said. "This team really gave their heart out tonight. It's my second family and I'm so proud of all of them."

The Canadian captain was the centre of attention early in the third period after laying out Brianna Decker with a massive hit in front of the Canadian net. U.S. coach Robb Stauber was incensed that there was no call on the play, which left Decker down on the ice holding her head.

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A sloppy line change by Canada left Lamoureux-Morando all alone in front of Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados and she buried her chance to tie it 2-2 at 13:39 of the third.

"It becomes more individual and less of a team thing, so a little harder to swallow," Szabados said after the game. "But [it's] the way it goes."

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Canada would get its own power-play opportunity with under two minutes left in the third, narrowly missing a go-ahead score on their one great scoring chance but otherwise not putting sustained pressure on Rooney and her penalty killers.

Emotional loss for Canadian players

There was barely a dry eye among the Canadian players as they lined up to receive their silver medals. Canadian defenceman Jocelyne Larocque immediately removed the medal from around her neck.

"It's just hard," Larocque said. "We're going for gold and I'm proud of this whole team, but we were chasing that gold medal, and ... yeah."

It was the speed of the Americans that was the ultimate difference in the game. The U.S. played with decidedly more pace and urgency during the third period and the 20-minute overtime, swarming Szabados at every opportunity. The veteran netminder made 39 saves in regulation and overtime.

"We knew it was going to be crazy," said U.S. forward Kendall Coyne. "It always is when we play them."

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout for the Americans, who have won seven of the last eight world women's championships and beaten Canada in the final in all of them.

"There's not a lot of words that can describe how you feel," said Canada coach Laura Schuler, who was a member of the team that took silver in Nagano 20 years ago. "It was a great game of hockey. It's what we expected: back and forth hockey."

Retired Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser, who is in India with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sent a tweet of support with a video attached shortly after the loss. Trudeau said the Canadian women "played amazing," with Wickenheiser adding that "we'll see you in another four years for revenge."

It was the first Olympic women's hockey final to go to a shootout.

With U.S. defender Megan Keller in the penalty box for an illegal hit on Poulin, Canada had a power play for the last 95 seconds of overtime, but couldn't produce the winner.

On the play preceding that, Rooney got just enough glove on a Laura Stacey shot on a Canadian odd-man rush.​

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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