Throughout the Beijing Games, the unveiling of the Canadian women’s hockey team was clearly something to watch, admire and intimidate.
Insults from teams playing for the bronze medal, bitter digs towards rivals, and subtle criticisms of tactics that failed to score on the On-Rene Despents., Goldtender who fortified Canadian Greece.
On Thursday, the Canadians proved that all of this was justified: they beat the United States 3-2 in the gold medal match to reclaim the Olympic title snatched by the Americans four years ago.
Canada’s victory was a scene of strong, armed, mobilization, mixed with some level of luck and the frantic, impulsive drive that began with the Olympic defeat in 2018.
The result went as far as Canadians could predict. To them, the gold medal often seemed less about redemption and more about consistently achieving higher quality.
“We’m playing so well – without focusing on other teams or focusing on the players – we can not stop,” said Natalie Spooner, the pioneer of her third Canadian Olympic team.
Canada seemed to score in about seven minutes into Thursday’s game when American goalkeeper Alex Gavalini turned a corner and saw Spooner sweep it with a powerful shot. However, the United States challenged Canada to be offside, which confirmed the assessment by officials.
“I owe you one,” Spooner told her on the bench by her colleague Sarah Nurse. “I was offside.”
Thirty-five seconds later, the goal came: after Canada’s face-to-face victory, the nurse took a pass, spun and scored.
Canada doubled their lead on a shot from Canadian captain Mary-Philippe Paulin, who was playing in Canada’s fourth game, and pushed it 3-0 when Pauline scored again in the middle of the second game.
Hillary Knight scored a short-arm goal for the United States.
The Power-Play goal with 13 seconds to play was close to the final score. But, by then the Canadian team knew that victory was assured.
The same is true of Americans.
“We wanted to get a lot of bucks out there, we really wanted to have a lot of bodies, and I don’t think we did it better,” said U.S. forward Abby Rock.
Thursday, the sixth gold medal match between Canada and the United States since the Women’s Hockey Olympic Games in 1998, was a spectacular venue. The United States won its first Olympic title until 2018, winning a match determined by a shootout. At least in Canada it was seen as a variant, not a precursor to a change of power.
Many of the meetings that led to Thursday’s game suggested the same thing. The Canadians won 4-2 in a preliminary round match in Beijing, and 4-2 in a series of pre-Olympic exhibition games in North America.
The teams were the unquestioned Titans of the Games. Entering Thursday, Canada scored 54 goals, an Olympic record, and three of the top five goalscorers in Beijing were Brian Jenner, Sarah Filler and Jamie Lee Rodrguez.
The United States defeated the bronze medalist Finland twice on Wednesday night, winning twice.
Led by Captain Kendall Coin Schofield, one of the world’s fastest skaters, and Knight, who set the U.S. record for most games played by women’s hockey at the Olympics on Thursday, the United States launched a vicious attack. Face the storm of shots through the competition.
But the Americans struggled again Thursday to turn chances into goals. At the same time, they found the Canadian team eager to score quickly – and talented. In the first period, Canada equalized for the United States with shots, 11, a significant change from their last encounter, with the Americans making 16 attempts at first and the Canadians finishing with only five.
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The United States eventually overtook Canada in shots again, recalling the Canadian verdict after their first meeting that the Americans were so happy to try to overwhelm the enemy with a barrage of shots that it was not always good.
However, for most games this was a tactic. But as time faded on Thursday, with the Americans pulsating and playing for more than three minutes, it became clear which team had shown itself to be the best for the final soundtrack, beating their net and clearing.
Just as Canada has been confirming it for a long time.
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