Team Canada women win gold
WebPosted Fri Feb 22 02:36:13 2002

Some of those girls can shoot that puck

CBC SPORTS ONLINE - Eight was enough, after all.

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.

Caroline Ouellette, 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 E-Center.

Left: Hayley 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 into tears.

"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 gold.
(CP Photo)

"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 starts.

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.

Wickenheiser restored 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 the period.

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 3-1 advantage.

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.

"Everyone was expecting us to win," Ruggiero said. "We expected to win. That's why it's so disappointing.''

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 extra attacker.

"We just tightened up," Wickenheiser said. "We just hung on. We did it."

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