It was the matchup the U.S. women's hockey team had been hoping for — a gold-medal showdown with Canada, the team that had won the last two Olympic golds, but also the team that the Americans had defeated for the last two world championships.
But the U.S. couldn't make it three in a row against Canada in major tournaments. The rivals to the north defeated the Americans 2-0 on Thursday in Vancouver to capture their third consecutive Olympic gold.
Marie-Philip Poulin netted both goals during a three-minute stretch late in the first period. She made it 1-0 when she one-timed a pass from Jennifer Botterill over the glove of American goalie Jessie Vetter (27 saves). Several shifts later, she collected a loose puck off a faceoff and snapped it into the right side of the net.
The Canadians controlled the tempo and possessed the puck for the majority of the game, and netminder Shannon Szabados (28 saves) stood tall when she needed to.
The U.S. had been able to rely on its power play for offense throughout these Games, scoring 13 goals on the man advantage in its first four games. On Thursday, though, Canada shut down the American power play, holding it to an 0-for-6 showing.
Earlier in the day, Finland won the bronze medal, its first Olympic medal in women's hockey, with a 3-2 overtime victory against Sweden. The U.S. trounced Sweden 9-1 in the semifinals, while Canada pummeled Finland 5-0.