Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rivals to North Rally vs. Americans Canada 3, United States 2

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rivals to North Rally vs. Americans Canada 3, United States 2

Article excerpt

SOCHI, Russia -- The scene has become all too familiar and increasingly painful for the U.S. women's Olympic hockey team: Their bitterest rivals, the Canadians, the thorn in their Olympic side, spilling off the bench and erupting with unbridled joy on the ice after a gold-medal-winning goal.

And then, as if that wasn't hard enough to watch, those happy players belting out "Oh, Canada" while their maple leaf flag rises to the arena rafters, with the American flag hanging just below it to the left.

It happened in Salt Lake City. It happened in Vancouver.

And, shockingly, it was the same story Thursday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. Canada left U.S. players sobbing yet again after a 3-2 overtime win in which the Canadians pulled off a furious two-goal comeback in the final 31/2 of regulation to force extra time.

It was the same Canadian player, forward Marie-Philip Poulin, who crushed the Americans' dreams this time around. Four years ago in Vancouver, as a rookie, Poulin, 18 at the time, scored two goals in the span of three minutes to lead Canada to a 2-0 victory. She scored the equalizer Thursday with 54.6 seconds remaining in regulation, and then the winner on a power-play goal at 8:10 into overtime.

"I couldn't believe it," Poulin said. "It's the best feeling ever. We never gave up and believed in ourselves."

The U.S. players, tough as nails in the game, tried to keep their composure afterward. They tried to find satisfaction in a silver medal. But at that moment, it just hurt too much. And so, the tears flowed.

Nobody on the U.S. team could have been as disappointed as former captain Julie Chu, 31, in her fourth Olympics and still seeking her first gold medal. She told reporters this week that she began thinking about Sochi the moment the Canadians started celebrating in Vancouver. That memory drove her through every practice and game the past four years. …

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