Well, wow. What an unbelievable finish to Women’s Ice Hockey in the Olympics. Two great games finish off a wonderful tournament, yet once again Canada tops the United States, and just like for the men in 2010, it’s in Overtime.
The Bronze Medal game will get overshadowed by the epic final. Sweden went into the third-period with a 2-0 lead, but gave up four goals in the final frame to a team considered much less superior. Switzerland dominated the entire period and took a 3-2 lead around the mid-point of the period. After an empty-netter, Sweden scored a goal to make it close, but Switzerland and Goalie Florence Schelling shut the door down the stretch, giving Switzerland their first medal in the event. It was a great game, as the underdog dominated the big time hockey country when it mattered most, but that won’t be the game anyone will be talking about.
The United States had finally gotten over its rival Canada. The puck went straight towards the empty net, and gold was in reach. But instead the puck went off the post. To hit the post from three-quarters ice is an impressive feat, but not the exact outcome desired by the American fans. Goalie Jessie Vetter played wonderfully for two whole periods and even the first 15-minutes of the third. But then a puck went off of an American knee and past her, and just after that fateful post shot and weak paddle by Vetter put the puck right onto Marie-Philip Poulin’s stick, and she elevated the puck over Vetter’s outstretched pad to tie the game with less than one-minute left. In Overtime, a chaotic sequence involving multiple penalties, two by the US following one by Canada, led to a power play chance. Canada had plenty of nifty passes that led to a wide-open net for Poulin who buried the golden goal to bring Canada to elation.
As an American, personally, I’m tired of losing heart-breaking games to Canada at the Olympics. 2010 was the worst feeling, watching a Sidney Crosby shot go five-hole on Ryan Miller. Today was just as bad though. The game was all but won with less than five minutes left, and the team found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It was disappointing, but still was a great final day of women’s hockey at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.