VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The frenzied crowd waved signs declaring, “Hockey is Canada’s Game.”
The Canadians then took to the ice Thursday and proved that declaration true – at least as far as the women were concerned.
Canada captured its third consecutive Olympic gold medal, this time a 2-0 victory over the United States.
While Marie-Philip Poulin scored both goals for Canada, it was the netminding of Shannon Szabados that was the difference.
She made 28 saves and was named the tournament’s best goaltender after allowing one goal on 50 shots against in three games.
“I looked up in the stands and saw a sign that said ‘Proud to be Canadian’ and that’s what I am today,” Szabados said. “My teammates were unbelievable. We played a great game and this is an incredible moment.
“This rivalry will never end. It will keep going and going.”
Poulin scored both goals in the first period as she beat goalie Jessie Vetter, who had yielded only one score in three tournament games coming in. The U.S. settled for the silver after taking the bronze in 2006 in Turin, Italy.
“We came here hoping to compete for a gold and we got that opportunity,” U.S. forward Karen Thatcher said. “We didn’t necessarily come out with that, but we did win silver. It was a great hockey game. They’re a great team and we’re a great team.
It was the second time in three gold-medal games that the Canadians came out on top vs. the U.S.
“(Szabados) was fantastic,” Thatcher said. “She was really on her game and hats off to her.”
•The IOC will investigate the behavior of Canadian players who celebrated their gold medal by swigging beer and champagne on the ice.
Players came back onto the ice more than half an hour after the win over the U.S. Still in their uniforms and with gold medals draped around their necks, they swigged from bottles of champagne and cans of beer and smoked cigars.