Despite losing all eight
meetings this past year by a combined score of 31-13, Team Canada
beat Team USA when it mattered most, 3-2 in the gold medal game at
the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games.
Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford scored for Team Canada,
which avenged a loss to the U.S. in the gold medal game at the
1998 Nagano Games.
Nine holdovers from that
Canadian squad skated in Thursday's Olympic rematch at the
Wickenheiser celebrates her goal with Geraldine Heaney. (CP Photo)
"It's been four long
years thinking about that disappointment in '98 and finally
bringing the gold medal home to the country where it
belongs," Team Canada captain Cassie Campbell said, bursting
"We just feel great,
I can't believe it," added an equally emotional Wickenheiser,
the tournament MVP with seven goals and 10 points.
"The Americans had
our flag on their floor in the dressing room and now I want to
know if they want us to sign it. We are so happy."
Katie King and Karyn Bye
replied in a losing cause for Team USA, which has dropped all
seven world championship finals to Canada too.
"We were 8-0 against
them and everyone said we'd win,'' Lyndsay Wall said. "It's a
lot of pressure. We felt it toward
the end and couldn't pull it out."
Kim St. Pierre was
spectacular in goal for Canada, turning aside 25 shots. "I just wanted to
prove to everybody that I could do it," St. Pierre said.
"We knew we could do it."
"It's our sport,
it's the medal we want," Therese Brisson added. "There's
a lot of passion about hockey in Canada and it's something that
means something to a lot of Canadians.''
"Anybody who ever
doubted us, I don't think they doubt us anymore," said
Geraldine Heaney, who retired after what was her 125th and final
game in Canadian colours. There could not be
a better way to end my career."
The Canadians proved the
superior squad in all aspects, not only outscoring and outskating
the Americans, but nullifying 9 -of-11 power plays, including a
pair of 5-on-3s.
"It was absolutely
atrocious," Wickenheiser said of the officiating and,
indirectly, referee Stacey Livingston of Utica, N.Y.
Danielle Goyette, Lori Dupuis and Cassie Campbell wear
"That was the worst
refereeing I've ever seen in female hockey," Campbell added.
"But you know what? We've been
challenged all year and that was just another challenge."
Canada started strongly
and was rewarded early when Ouellette opened the scoring at 1:45
of the first period.
Ouellette swatted a
rebound by Sara DeCosta for a 1-0 lead after Cherie Piper was
foiled on a wraparound.
It was the first goal
surrendered by DeCosta, who posted shutouts in her two previous
The U.S. tied it 1-1 on
its fifth power play as King re-directed Tara Mounsey's point shot
by St. Pierre early in the second. It marked the first power
play goal surrendered by Canada in the tournament.
Canada's lead at 4:10, roofing a Danielle Goyette rebound over
DeCosta and under the crossbar.
"Nobody thought we
were going to win," Wickenheiser said. "We believed in
each other, we got ugly goals and we won."
But the backbreaker
proved to be Hefford's breakaway goal with one second remaining in
Gloving a long outlet
pass, she broke in alone on DeCosta, deked to her backhand and
bumped a shot off the American netminder and into the net for a
St. Pierre was
particularly sharp as the U.S. pressed in the third period,
snaring Angelo Ruggiero's long range slapshot and, moments later,
padding aside a point-blank drive by Julie Chu.
expecting us to win," Ruggiero said. "We expected to
win. That's why it's so
With 3:33 left, Bye
sliced the deficit to 3-2 with a one-timer inside the near post on
a power play.
But Canada forechecked
ferociously from there, pinning the U.S. in its own zone before
thwarting one final, last gasp with DeCosta on the bench for an
"We just tightened
up," Wickenheiser said. "We just hung on. We did it."