Ouellette, Canada knock off Team USA in OT
Canada's Hayley Wickenheiser put it all in perspective, like all good captains do.
The Women's World Championship gold medal game against the Americans was headed to overtime, pressure was mounting, and other teams may have folded, especially considering Canada was crushed by Team USA, 9-2, in the opening game of the tournament.
"We sat in the room before the overtime and felt it was our game to win," Wickenheiser said. "Based on our rich history, and belief in ourselves, we never thought we were out of the game."
They were right.
Caroline Ouellette scored 1:50 into overtime, lifting Canada to a 5-4 victory over the United States to win the gold medal. It was Canada's 10th gold, and stopped a streak of three U.S. titles.
Meghan Agosta, whose power-play goal late in regulation forced overtime, took advantage of a Team USA turnover at the blue line, fed Ouellette in the high slot and she snapped it past Molly Schaus.
"Playing the U.S. is always a battle. And you push, and they push back," Wickenheiser said. "We didn't block many shots when we lost last week, and they controlled the pace right from the start.
"Cutting down their passing lanes was also a big part of the gameplan tonight."
The Americans outscored their foes, 38-2, in four previous games - including three straight shutouts. But they found themselves in an early 1-0 hole on a goal by Wickenheiser 7:52 into the contest. Kendal Coyne tied it for the United States five minutes later.
Canada jumped ahead 3-1 in the second on goals by Jayna Hefford and Ouellette before the U.S. drew even on goals by Brianna Decker and Gigi Marvin, who tied it on the power play 1:44 before the second intermission.
"We had a chance to show a lot of our character by coming back in this game after scoring first in all the others," Schaus said. "Being down or being up, we play just as hard. But it was easier to be focused in a game like this."
Marvin, on another power play, gave the United States its first lead - a 4-3 edge 2:57 into the third period. The Americans could not hold it, though, as Agosta notched the game-tying goal on a Canada power play with 2:38 left.
The Americans, who won the silver for the 10th time, outshot Canada, 44-37.
"You always think you have the win, and you always have to think you are confident you'll hold the lead," Team USA forward Monique Lamoureux-Kolls said. "But at the end, we had a bad change and the puck took a strange bounce the other way. It hurts.
"And any competitor knows the pain of losing is worse than the feeling of winning."
Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados made 40 saves, while Schaus finished with 32.
Wickenheiser won her ninth world championship gold to go along with three Olympic golds, while Lamoureux-Kolls won the tournament scoring title with seven goals and 14 points.
Before the dramatic finale, Switzerland topped Finland, 6-2, to win the bronze. It was the first-ever medal for the Swiss.