Canada Wins Fourth Straight Olympic Gold in Women's Hockey

Canada's women's ice hockey team has won its fourth straight Olympic gold medal, beating the United States, 3-2, in an overtime thriller in Sochi.

Marie-Philip Poulin scored the winning goal eight minutes into overtime Thursday at the Bolshoi Ice Dome, forcing Canada's fierce North American rival to settle for silver.

A furious Canadian comeback sent the game into overtime. Trailing 2-0 early in the third period, Canada tied the game on late goals by Brianne Jenner and Poulin. Poulin's equalizer came after Canada pulled its goalie, giving it an extra shooter on the ice.

The U.S. won gold in women's ice hockey when the sport debuted at the 1998 Nagano Games.  Canada has won each of the four finals since, beating the United States for the gold in 2002, 2010 and now 2014. Canada also beat the U.S., 3-2, in a preliminary round game in Sochi. 

In the bronze medal game, Switzerland also rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Sweden, 4-3. Florence Schelling made 28 saves for the Swiss, who earned their first Olympic medal since 1998.

Team Canada gathers for a group photo after beating the U.S. 3-2 in overtime of the gold medal womens ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 19, 2014. /AP Team Canada gathers for a group photo after beating the U.S. 3-2 in overtime of the gold medal women's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 19, 2014. /AP

The men's gold medal game is on Sunday, the final day of the Sochi Olympics. In Friday's semifinals, Finland will play Sweden and Canada will play the United States.  Canada and the U.S. are the favorites to win the gold medal. The Canadians beat their North American neighbors to take the gold in Vancouver in 2010.

Elsewhere, France swept the medals in an event for the first time at the Winter Olympics.  Jean Frederic Chapuis won gold to lead the French in skicross. Arnaud Bovolenta took silver and Jonathan Midol captured bronze.

Skicross is often considered part of freestyle skiing because it incorporates terrain features traditionally found in freestyle.

This was the sixth podium sweep at the Sochi Games, adding to four by the Dutch speedskating teams and one by the U.S. men's slopestyle ski squad.

◆ Norway Leads in Gold

Norway won the Nordic combined team competition for the country's 10th gold medal, the most so far at the Sochi Games. The Norwegians finished third in the ski jump, but cross-country specialist Magnus Mon made up the difference in the first leg of the 20-km pursuit race. 

Germany took silver and Austria bronze.

In women's curling, Canada beat Sweden, 6-3, to win the gold medal in the sport for the first time since 1998. The Canadians had lost in the 2010 final in Vancouver to the Swedes, who were seeking a third straight title on Thursday. Britain won the bronze medal with a 6-5 win over Switzerland.

Also, American freestyle skier Maddie Bowman won the gold medal in the women's halfpipe, a new event where contestants perform somersaults and other tricks. Bowman scored an impressive 89 points to edge out France's Marie Martinod.

With three days of competition left in Sochi, the United States leads in the overall medal count with 25, followed by Russia with 23, the Netherlands with 22, Norway with 21 and Canada with 20. In gold medals, Norway has 10, and the U.S. and Germany are tied with eight apiece.

VOA News / Feb. 21, 2014 08:02 KST