VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The clock hadn't even ticked to :00 by the time the first pair of Canadian gloves hurtled into the air. The 15 players on the bench monitored the scoreboard clock to see when time officially ran out, because you couldn't hear the horn at Canada Hockey Place. You couldn't hear anything but a nation exult, rejoice at realizing a dream: a hockey gold medal right before their eyes.
"It feels unbelievable," Canada goalie
Of course, there was no way she was letting in eight goals Thursday night, not with the hot hand she brought to the game's biggest stage. Time after time, she thwarted the U.S.'s high shots, flashing her glove, which seemed to act as a rubber magnet. Nothing was getting by her on this night.
"She played great tonight," said
While Team Canada swarmed their 23-year-old goalie, the American women looked on from the other side of the rink, watching the celebration they all woke up believing would be theirs. "We woke up this morning, hoping and thinking we would finish with a gold medal," says U.S. defenseman
Though it was a tough pill to swallow for the U.S., this gold-medal game will go down as one of the best women's hockey contests ever played. A high tempo and physical matchup, it put two evenly matched teams on display and -- for 60 minutes -- people forgot about the 18-0 drubbings, the questions about parity that have dominated coverage of the sport for these last two weeks, and simply watched.
"It's bittersweet," U.S. captain
The frustration on Team USA was evident as every chance they had was stonewalled by Szabados and a structured Canadian defense. Twice in the game, the U.S. had a two-man advantage and couldn't capitalize because of a tremendous penalty kill anchored by its veterans,
That has come to be expected for Canada, the dynastic team that has won its third straight Olympic gold medal. Though the names and faces may be new, the hockey instincts remain the same. Just hours before the game, Canada women's hockey icon
From Campbell-Pascall's mouth to Poulin's hands, it seemed, as the forward netted Canada's only goals of the night, both in the first period. It's funny how good defense fuels an offense. On the first shift after Canada had killed off the first 5-on-3 in the first period, the momentum of the game, even up to that point, swung hard in Canada's favor.
In the quiet moments after the game, after the celebration, the ceremonies and the media interviews, a handful of players