Canada celebrates their gold medal after defeating the United States...

Canada celebrates their gold medal after defeating the United States during the women's gold medal hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing.  Credit: AP/Jae C. Hong

BEIJING — Canada’s Captain Clutch, Marie-Philip Poulin, delivered at the Olympics again. Poulin scored twice, including her third gold-medal clinching goal, and Canada reclaimed its place atop the women’s hockey world by capping its run through the Beijing Games with a 3-2 win over the defending champion United States on Thursday.

Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 38 shots and Sarah Nurse had a goal and assist in a game where the Canadians built a 3-0 lead and hung on for the win. Nurse set the single tournament record with 18 points. The Canadians finished 7-0 and spent their time in Beijing showcasing a dynamic, deep and relentless offensive attack to capture their fifth Olympic title in seven tournaments, with four coming against the Americans in what’s been one of sports’ fiercest and longest-running rivalries.

Just as important, Canada bounced back from a shocking 3-2 shootout gold-medal loss to the United States at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Canada can now boast holding both the Olympic and world championship titles at the same time, and for the first time since 2012.

The win at Beijing comes nearly six months after Poulin’s overtime goal sealed Canada’s 3-2 victory over the United States at worlds, which ended the Americans’ run of winning five consecutive tournament titles.

Hilary Knight, the Americans’ only consistent threat in the tournament, scored her team-leading sixth goal on a shorthanded rush to cut the deficit to 3-1. Amanda Kessel scored with 14 seconds remaining during a mad scramble in front for a power-play goal and with the United States net empty for an extra attacker. Alex Cavallini stopped 18 shots in her fourth tournament start.

The Americans, who have two Olympic golds, settled for their fourth silver medal, with all losses coming against Canada. Poulin continued playing up to the nickname she earned for scoring decisive goals in big games and especially against the Americans. She scored both goals to seal Canada’s 2-0 gold-medal win over the United State. at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Four years later at Sochi, Poulin scored in overtime to seal the gold-medal win over the Americans again.

Poulin staked the Canadians to a 2-0 lead with 4:34 left in the first period, and then made it 3-0 off an odd-man rush 9:08 into the second period. Nurse drove up the right wing and fed Brianne Jenner, whose slapper was stopped by Cavallini. The rebound caromed to Poulin, who immediately fired a shot from the left of the net and banked it in off Cavallini’s skate.

United States reacts after losing to Canada in the women's...

United States reacts after losing to Canada in the women's gold medal hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP/Jae C. Hong

Knight’s goal with 3:21 left in the second period provided the Americans life, but they were unable to cash in on their chances in the third period. Alex Carpenter had two chances five minutes in, only to have her one-timer from the left circle hit the crossbar, and then getting by Desbiens on a partial breakaway.

It’s been a long and bumpy road back for the Canadians, who were forced to reinvent themselves in three years under coach Troy Ryan. The low point followed Canada settling for bronze at the 2019 world championships, which marked the first time in tournament history the country failed to reach the title game.

Finland wins bronze. Susanna Tapani scored her team-leading sixth goal, Anni Keisala stopped 15 shots and Finland claimed its fourth Olympic women's hockey bronze medal with a 4-0 win over Switzerland.

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