RESULTS: Women’s Hockey Medal Games
What an amazing set of Medal Games today. I would hope that Women’s hockey gets a huge boost in popularity from these games. Fans saw two match-ups that came down to the wire. Switzerland defeated Sweden 4-3, after trailing Sweden 0-2 by the end of the second period, to win Bronze. Switzerland scored four unanswered goals to start the third period and Sweden came back within one goal with 44 seconds left in the game but were unable to equalize. This is Switzerland’s first Olympic medal for Women’s hockey.
The Gold medal game was just as exciting when Canada forced Team USA to overtime in the final minute of the game. Canada came from a two goal deficit after falling down to the Americans 0-2 by the middle of the third period. It was a scoreless game after the first period when Meghan Duggan, Captain for the American’s, scored a beautiful goal almost 12 minutes into the second period. The next goal was two minutes into the third when Alex Carpenter scored another one for Team USA. Canada would surge in the latter half of the third to push the game into extra periods. Several penalties against the American’s in overtime left them short handed and pinned in their own end. After setting up a triangle in front of Jessie Vetter, several sharp passes Canadian caught her moving and Marie-Philip Poulin scored her second goal of the game; defeating Team USA 3-2 and winning Gold for Canada. This was the second straight Olympics where Poulin scored the game-winning goal, scoring two goals in Canada’s 2-0 defeat of the USA in 2010’s Vancouver games.
Though the loss is heartbreaking for Team USA after being in control during most of the game, and people will argue that poor officiating at the end caused the loss, Canada’s surge is what gave them the chance in the end. Team USA had their chances to seal the deal, including a near empty-netter that rang the post. Both teams represented their country, and Women’s Hockey, well and should be proud of what they have done for the sport. Both teams have likely inspired a new generation of female hockey players. If more countries fund and expand their teams, and more games on the world stage become as competitive as these Olympic medal games have been, we will see the opportunity for the sport to expand. It is only a matter of time until interest and economics allow for a successful women’s pro-league to become a mainstay so these talented and passionate athletes can make a living doing what they love.
Congrats to the Canadians and good luck to all the women hockey teams who make strides to grow their sport.