Canada beat USA to ice hockey gold

Women fight back from 2-0 down and survive empty-net scare in overtime to take fourth hockey gold in five Olympics.

Canada' Shannon Szabados makes a glove save to help her team to gold over the United States [GALLO/GETTY]

Canada fought back from the brink of defeat to stun their fiercest rivals the United States and capture a fourth consecutive Olympic women’s ice hockey gold medal with a wild 3-2 overtime win at the Sochi Games.

Trailing by two goals with under four minutes to play in regulation, Canada scored twice, including one with 55 seconds to play, before going on to win on Marie-Philip Poulin’s goal eight minutes into the sudden-death overtime period.

“We’ve worked so hard all year, we’ve been together for a really long time, we never gave up,” said Canadian forward Meghan Agosta.

“We kept battling and knew it was still possible and it just showed tonight.”

The triumph capped an undefeated run in Sochi for a Canada team that have won four of the five gold medals awarded since women’s ice hockey made its debut at the 1998 Nagano Games.

Switzerland beat Sweden earlier on Thursday to claim bronze.

The Americans, who were clinging to a 2-1 lead late in the third period, almost sealed the win when Kelli Stack sent a clearing shot down the length of the ice that hit the post of a Canadian net left empty in favour of an extra attacker.

That proved costly as Poulin tied the game moments later, crushing the hearts of an American team that could almost taste their first Olympic gold medal since 1998.

“It’s the worst feeling in the world, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. We worked so hard and got so close,” said Stack.

“An inch to the right and we would have won the gold medal. An empty-net goal would have been a game-winning goal.”

Curling triumph

Canada also won gold on Thursday in women’s curling, beating Sweden 6-3 and avenging a loss to the Swedes in the final at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

The Canadians broke up a scrappy, error-strewn game with two steal points in the ninth to go ahead 6-3 ahead and then defended out the 10th end. Canadian skip Jennifer Jones’ rink went through the tournament undefeated, winning 11 straight games.

It’s the first gold for Canada’s women curlers in what has been the country’s second most popular sport since 1998, when curling returned to the Olympic program. The Canadian men’s team has won gold at the last two Olympics.

Britain beat Switzerland 6-5 earlier to win the bronze medal.

French sweep

Jean Frederic Chapuis led a French sweep of Olympic skicross, taking gold while Arnaud Bovolenta won silver and Jonathan Midol captured bronze.

The three quickly bolted ahead of the fourth finalist in Thursday’s race, Canada’s Brady Lehman who briefly moved into the third position but wiped out two-thirds of the way down the mountain. That meant that the French only had to stay upright to secure the sweep.

The French have mastered this course. Earlier in the week, Pierre Vaultier won men’s snowboardcross to give his country its first Olympic victory in that sport’s version of side-by-side racing.

Source: News Agencies

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