When Canada's women's hockey team fell behind Team USA 2-0 a the beginning of the third period in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, it seemed as though any hope of winning the Olympic gold medal was lost. Brianne Jenner managed to cut the Americans' lead in half with less than five minutes to play in the third, but it was Marie-Philip Poulin who tied the game with under a minute to go. All of Canada sat on the edge of their seats as they hoped and waited.
Hilary Knight took a cross-checking penalty seven-and-a-half minutes into overtime, giving the Canadians a 5-on-3 power play. Thirty-nine seconds later, Poulin scored her second gold-medal-winning goal.
Do you have goosebumps? Do you remember where you were the moment Poulin became a national hero? Good. Now imagine you could watch her play every week.
PHOTO: Shanna Martin
Les Canadiennes de Montreal drafted the Clutch Queen third overall at the 2015 CWHL Player Entry draft this summer. Poulin made it clear long before the draft that there was only one team she was interested in playing for.
"With the training facilities, and the organization here in Montreal, I think it was a good fit for me, and I'm happy to be back at home closer to my friends and family," said Poulin when I spoke to her this summer.
Poulin will be playing alongside Caroline Ouellette this season, another Olympian on the Canadiennes roster. While the two know each other from their time in Vancouver and Sochi, playing with her childhood idol is as good as it gets for Poulin.
"She's a big part of my success, not only on the ice, but off the ice. Being able to be around her, and being able to learn from her. I think it's awesome."
Poulin spent the last five years playing NCAA hockey at Boston University (where Sabres forward Jack Eichel was drafted out of). During her five seasons of NCAA action, Poulin found the back of the net 81 times, assisted on 100 more goals, for 181 points in 111 games.
Prior to playing in Boston, Poulin played for the Dawson Collegein the QCHL, as well as the Montreal (before they were Les Canadiennes). In her first season with the Stars, despite only appearing in 16 games, she led all rookies in scoring with 22 goals and 21 assists, and was the runner-up for the 2007-08 CWHL Most Valuable Player Award.
The big game performer should fit in nicely with the elite talent on les Canadiennes.
At only 24 years of age, Marie-Philip Poulin is a household name in Canada; a not-so-easy feat for a female athlete. Often referred to as "the Sidney Crosby of women's hockey", Poulin actually scored the gold-medal-winning goal for Team Canada twice (in Sochi and in Vancouver). Perhaps we should start calling Crosby the Marie-Philip Poulin of men's hockey.