Poulin leads Canada to gold again
17 ôåâðàëÿ 2022 ãîäà. iihf.com. Àâòîð - Lucas Aykroyd.
Talk about revenge and rising to the occasion. Legendary captain
Marie-Philip Poulin stepped up with two goals and an assist as Canada
beat the U.S. 3-2 to win the 2022 Olympic women’s hockey gold medal on
Thursday. Utterly relentless, the Canadians regained the title they
lost to the Americans in PyeongChang four years ago.
"I'm so proud of this group, from players to staff," Poulin said. "We
stayed united since 2018. It would have been easy to go our own way,
but to be honest, we put our heads down. We went to work. And it really
This is one of international hockey’s most intense rivalries, and the
North American superpowers put on another memorable show at Beijing’s
Wukesong Sports Centre. It was pure elation for Canada and anguish for
their archrivals, who got a goal from Amanda Kessel with 13 seconds
left to make it close, but couldn't complete their rally from a
"When we finally won, I was crying, happy and relieved at the same
time," said Natalie Spooner, who had a personal Olympic peak of 14
points in Beijing. "The past four years have been tough. The group has
been so special. This has been the icing on the cake for everything
we’ve worked for. Today it was just about our plan and the way we’ve
been playing at this tournament. We were dominant. We played the way we
need to play to."
Canada's Sarah Nurse added a goal and an assist to set a new Olympic
single-tournament points record (18), surpassing the mark (17) set by
Hayley Wickenheiser in 2006. With 13 assists, Nurse also broke
Wickenheiser's 2006 record for most assists (12) in one Olympics.
Canada has now won five out of a possible seven Olympic gold medals
since the inaugural women’s tournament in Nagano in 1998. The U.S.
captured Olympic gold in 1998 and 2018, while Canada triumphed four
straight times from 2002 to 2014.
"There's no quit in this team," said U.S. captain Kendall Coyne
Schofield. "We showed this tonight. We scored with 12 seconds left and
we just ran out of time."
Four-time Olympian and all-time U.S. great Hilary Knight had the other goal for the Americans, who outshot Canada 40-21.
"Obviously we came up short," said Knight, who paced her team with six
goals and 10 points. "We did not get the puck to the net enough. I
don't think we played up to our potential."
As in Canada’s 4-2 group-stage victory over the U.S., Canadian goalie
Ann-Renee Desbiens was outstanding with 38 saves, winning her duel with
U.S. starter Alex Cavallini.
"The big thing for us was quality over quantity," Nurse said. "I know
today the Americans had a bunch of outside shots, but when you have the
best goaltender in the world in Ann-Renee, you’re not going to score
from the outside very often."
"It’s tough," Cavallini said. "To get that many shots, I feel like I
didn’t hold it in there for the team today. I’m a bit numb right now,
but I’m proud of our team for getting that goal at the end. We felt we
were right there on the cusp of it, and enough of the bounces didn’t go
our way today."
The Canadians also won their first IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World
Championship since 2012 in August in Calgary, ending the U.S.’s hopes
of a sixth straight title with Poulin’s 3-2 overtime winner.
These Olympics saw overwhelming Canadian two-way dominance. Coach Troy
Ryan's team went undefeated with a roster including 10 first-time
Olympians. The top six tournament scoring leaders were all Canadian. In
the final, Canada outdid the Americans with speed, physicality, and
faceoff prowess (65 percent to the U.S.'s 35 percent).
"The biggest emotion is happiness," Ryan said. "The work they put in on
a daily basis to make this possible during the last four years was
Just past the two-minute mark, the U.S. had the best early chance when
Hannah Brandt rang one off the outside of Desbiens’ right post from
close range. However, Canada controlled the puck more and the U.S.
didn’t record a shot until more than 11 minutes in.
Near the seven-minute mark, Natalie Spooner thought she’d drawn first
blood for Canada. Sarah Fillier provided the screen on a long shot by
Melodie Daoust, the MVP of the 2018 Olympics and 2021 Women’s Worlds,
and Spooner hammered the rebound high into the net. However, the U.S.
challenged the play because Nurse was offside, and the goal was
Nurse, a former University of Wisconsin star, promptly atoned for her
error. Off a faceoff in the U.S. end, Poulin got the puck back to
Claire Thompson, and her shot from the side boards was deflected in by
Nurse in front before Cavallini could react at 7:45. For the Winter
Games rookie Thompson, it was her 13th point in Beijing, adding to her
all-time Olympic single-tournament record for defenders.
Poulin made it 2-0 unassisted at 15:02. In the U.S. zone, she stripped
Kelly Pannek of the puck from behind, circled into the middle, and
surprised Cavallini with a long shot that slipped through on the
"We call her 'Captain Clutch' for a reason," Spooner said of Poulin. "I’m happy to play with her and not against her."
This was the fourth consecutive Olympic final in which Poulin has
scored. No other player – male or female – has equalled that feat. The
Quebec native scored twice, including the winner, in both 2010
(Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi) and added a single in a losing cause in
When Coyne Schofield took the game's first penalty for putting the puck
over the glass 24 seconds later, it hinted that this might not be
U.S. coach Joel Johnson drastically shortened his bench, relying on his
top two units. On a rare shift in the last minute of the first,
22-year-old power forward Grace Zumwinkle, who tied Knight for the U.S.
lead in goals (four) at the 2021 Women’s Worlds, tried to jam in a
wraparound, but Desbiens locked it down.
"It was disappointing," Johnson said. "In too many games we were not
able to score in the first period. It’s difficult to take because
overall we played pretty well and generated good offence, had good
goaltending, good defence."
In the second period, Canada kept coming. Poulin's stretch pass gave
Brianne Jenner a breakaway, but top U.S. defender Lee Stecklein came
back and Jenner, who was named MVP with an Olympic record-tying nine
goals, fired high and wide. Fillier set up Spooner on a 2-on-1, but
Cavallini slid across to stop it with her right pad.
At 9:08, Poulin put Canada up 3-0. Nurse pulled up on an odd-player
rush and sent the puck over to Jenner for a one-timer. The puck caromed
right to Poulin on the left side and she zinged it home for her 17th
Olympic goal of all time. Poulin also had 17 points at the 2022
Olympics, second only to Nurse.
Canadian forward Rebecca Johnston, a four-time Olympian like Poulin,
hailed her captain: "She’s just a competitor. She’s someone that
thrives in these tight situations. She’s so successful at it."
The Americans tried desperately to get back into it. Roque attacked the
Canadian net with a great wraparound attempt that fell short. Coyne
Schofield and Jesse Compher collided with Desbiens. Johnson even tried
giving offensive blueliner Caroline Harvey some ice time after benching
the 19-year-old ever since the group-stage loss to Canada.
With 1:25 left in the second period, Knight gave the U.S. some life
with a shorthanded marker to cut the deficit to 3-1. On a 2-on-1 rush
with Brandt, she barged to the net to tuck in her own rebound past
Knight appeared in her American record 22nd Olympic game, passing
fellow legends Jenny Potter and Angela Ruggiero (21 apiece). At 32,
Knight, a four-time Winter Games medalist (one gold, three silver), is
the oldest U.S. women's hockey player ever at the Olympics.
In the third period, the veteran U.S. stars continued to press.
Alex Carpenter, who led the U.S. with four goals in 2014 but was left
off the 2018 gold-medal team, put one off the post and then was stoned
by Desbiens when she got in tight a minute later. Knight powered to the
net on the backhand, but Desbiens denied her as the eight-time World
Champion knocked her net off the moorings.
"We love each other and are willing to go through a wall for each other," Knight said of her teammates.
It will remain unknown how the U.S. could have fared with superstar
playmaker Brianna Decker in the lineup. Decker broke her leg in a
collision with Finland's Ronja Savolainen in the opener. Since the U.S.
did not bring a taxi squad to Beijing, nobody ever attempted to fill
Decker's very big skates.
"Look at the adversity we've faced," Coyne Schofield said. "You lose
your best player. It never broke us. We stayed through it. We had a lot
of grit and it showed what this team is made of."
Johnson pulled Cavallini for the extra attacker with just over three
minutes left. There was added drama when Poulin was sent off for
tripping at 18:35. after running over the U.S.'s Cayla Barnes in the
The Americans mounted a furious last-minute push. Desbiens lost her
goal stick and Kessel whacked in a rebound. But that was as close as
they'd get. The Canadians flooded the ice to throw away their gear and
hug one another, while heartbreak was plain to see on the Americans'
"When the final buzzer went, I was crying and it took me a minute to
regroup a little bit," said Fillier, who dazzled as a 21-year-old
Olympic rookie with eight goals, second only to Jenner, and 11 points.
"It still doesn’t seem real to have this gold medal around my neck and
it’s such a special feeling."
This was the sixth out of seven Olympic finals with a Canada-U.S.
matchup. The lone exception was 2006, when Canada beat Sweden 4-1. In
every previous Canada-U.S. final, the margin of victory was either one
(2002, 2014, 2018) or two (1998, 2010) goals.
The Canadian women set a new single-tournament Olympic goals record
(57) in seven games. The previous high was 48 in five games, set by
Canada in 2010.
The road to this epic confrontation wasn’t easy for either side. The
pandemic compelled the cancellation or postponement of Women’s Worlds
in 2020 and 2021 and created less-than-optimal training conditions. The
2019 dissolution of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) was
followed by strife between the PWHPA (Professional Women’s Hockey
Players Association) and the PHF (Premier Hockey Federation, previously
the National Women’s Hockey League). But getting to Beijing made it all
"Four years ago after our silver medal, I thought it was my last game
but I’m really glad I came back," Desbiens said. "I didn’t have fun
back then, and I can tell you today, this is the most fun I’ve had in a
while. This group, my teammates are special, and they’ve made the game
I love fun playing again."
In men’s hockey, the only nation to win Olympic gold and World
Championship gold in the same year is Sweden (Turin 2006 and Riga
2006). With Women’s Worlds now set to take place in Olympic years for
the first time ever, the Canadian women have an opportunity to “do the
double” at the 2022 Women’s Worlds in Denmark (Herning and
Frederikshavn, 26 August to 4 September).
An exciting future lies ahead for women’s hockey, both in IIHF
competition and in pro leagues. This 2022 gold medal game was another
big step toward maximizing the sport’s global reach.