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U.S. women's hockey team loses gold in a heartbreaker

Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin (C) celebrates her gold medal winning goal in overtime against Team USA's goalie Jessie Vetter as defenders Anne Schleper and Kacey Bellamy (R) react at the conclusion of the women's ice hockey final game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

The scene was familiar.

U.S. players stood on one side of the arena, many of them in tears, waiting for their silver medals.

But this wasn’t Vancouver. This was much worse.

The Americans — minutes away from winning their first gold medal in women’s hockey since 1998 — allowed two goals in the final 3:26, then lost the championship in overtime, 3-2, to Canada.

Marie Philip-Poulin, who scored both goals of Canada’s 2-0 win in the gold medal game four years ago, added to her Olympic lore by scoring the game-tying goal in the last minute and adding the winner on the power play at 8:10 of the extra session.

It was the fourth straight gold medal for the Canadians and their 20th consecutive win at the Olympic Games, dating back to the 1998 finals.

“It’s really hard to swallow right now,” Jocelyne told the Pioneer Press. “It was a tough one for sure. It sucks.”

The U.S. appeared to be en route to the gold thanks to a second-period goal by Meghan Duggan and a third-period tally by Alex Carpenter, but Canada rallied in the final minutes.

The first goal came when Brianne Jenner’s wrist shot went off U.S. defenseman Kacey Bellamy at 16:34. Then, with the goalie pulled, U.S. netminder Jesse Vetter tried to poke-check a puck out of the crease area, but it went straight to Poulin, who finished it.

In overtime, Laura Fortino fed Poulin for a four-on-three power-play goal at 8:10.

Grand Forks natives Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux will bring back a second silver medal to Grand Forks, where they have become North Dakota’s first two athletes to win two medals at the Olympic Games.

Warroad’s (Minn.) Gigi Marvin will become her town’s first to win two Olympic medals, as well.

But it might not be much consolation to the three local players who were heartbroken after the loss in Vancouver and spent the last four years focused on the Sochi Games.

There were several items that made this loss even more difficult.

The Americans nearly iced the game with 1:14 left, but Kelli Stack’s shot at an empty net hit the post.

“Inches,” Jocelyne told reporters. “Inches. Bad day.”

In overtime, the Americans got a power play after Catherine Ward was sent to the box. But just five seconds into the power play, Jocelyne was called for slashing the goaltender.

The Americans strongly disagreed with the call. Jocelyne said the puck was still loose between the pads of Canada goalie Shannon Szabados.

“It was between her knees,” Jocelyne told the Pioneer Press. “She didn’t have it.”

So, the teams played three-on-three after that. The U.S. had a great look on a rush, but defenseman Anne Schleper couldn’t corral a pass and the Canadians went the other way with numbers. Hilary Knight was forced to take a penalty and Canada got a power play.

Poulin scored on that advantage.

“This experience represents more than just 60 minutes,” Marvin told the Pioneer Press. “Yes, we wanted to win. Yes, good will come out of it. Right now, it hurts.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics will be played in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It’s unknown if the Lamoureuxs or Marvin will be on that squad in four years.

When asked how she would process this loss, Marvin told the Pioneer Press: “It’ll take time.”

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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