The two super powers in women's hockey clashed today in Sochi, for their final game of the preliminary round. USA-Canada is perhaps the best rivalry at the Olympics, meaning this game was highly anticipated.
Kelli Stack from the USA hit the post with the 1st shot attempt of the game and set the tone for a reasonably competitive period. Canadian goalie Charline Labonte looked sharp as the USA applied the first wave of pressure.
However after the American pressure Canada stepped up their game, including Meghan Agosta who was stopped on a breakaway by Jessie Vetter.
Brianne Jenner also went on a partial break, however she was bested by Vetter as well.
Some strong play by Wickenheiser led to a Canadian power play, however the Canucks failed to threaten with any high end scoring chances, as Vetter wasn't forced to move much during the man advantage.
The Americans held the shot advantage during the period (11-8), however Canada had the better quality chances. The Spooner-Wickenheiser-Agosta line was dominant, producing 4 of the 8 shots Canada put on net.
The USA once again started the period with intensity , but some strong defensive play by Poulin negated the American scoring attempts.
As it happened in the 1st, Canada responding quite well by applying pressure of their own.
The Canadian women had a very good scoring chance on a 3 on 1, but a good American back check meant that Hefford put her shot wide.
Melodie Daoust received a very good scoring chance, however once again Vetter was equal to the task.
Poulin had a partial break, but once again was bested by Vetter. It was clear at this point that Canada would have to improve their scoring chance quality to beat the American goalie.
Brianna Decker responded with a high quality chance, however Labonte showed up with a great glove save.
The American's however did not struggle on their power play. A point shot by Schleper was deflected by Hilary Knight, and the USA went up 1-0.
Brianna Decker got called for an early penalty, and Canada went on their fourth power play of the game.
This time they would make no mistake. After some smart play down low from Wickenheiser, she found birthday girl Meghan Agosta all alone in front. Agosta made no mistake and buried the shot behind Vetter.
Some controversy surrounded the next goal. A smart play by Wickenheiser led to high quality scoring chance. Wickenheiser managed to sneak the puck by Vetter, and consequently into the net. The Americans immediately protested as they claimed the whistle had been blown. The goal went to review and counted, which meant that Wickenheiser scored her 18th goal in Olympic history. 2-1 Canada.
Meghan Agosta put the game out of reach by scoring her second goal, during a perfectly executed breakaway with 5 minutes left in the third period. Vetter tried her best, but Agosta would not be denied as she went 5 hole to put Canada up 3-1.
Canada completely dominated the period, which is a rare sight between these two clubs.
The USA managed to score a goal in the dying minutes of the game, via a big point shot by Anne Schleper, however it was too little too late.
Labonte kept Canada in the game early, and the big stars for Canada did their job. All and all a good victory for the Canadian women, who had lost their last four games versus the Americans.
Canada out shot the Americans by a count of 31-27, helped along by several power plays.
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