ice hockey

U.S. Women's Hockey Team Falls to Canada for First Loss in Beijing

Canada took down Team USA 4-2 in a potential preview of the gold medal game

Canada got some revenge against the U.S. women's hockey team on Monday night.

After losing to the United States in the 2018 gold medal game, Canada used a three-goal flurry in the second period and a magnificent performance from netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens to beat Team USA 4-2 in a preliminary round heavyweight showdown.

Both teams entered the matchup undefeated at 3-0, and now Canada will advance to the quarterfinals as the No. 1 seed. The U.S. finishes second in Group A and will face the second-place team from Group B.

The United States peppered Desbiens with shots all night, but the 27-year-old goalie proved she was more than up for the task. Desbiens stopped 51 of the staggering 53 shots Team USA put on net.

“Yeah, busy day, but that’s a fun type of day,” Desbiens said (H/T Associated Press). “I think it just shows how resilient we are, how we can’t just change our focus and then don’t let momentum swing for too long.”

Desbiens' effort helped Canada score the only goal in a first period that was dominated by the U.S., as Brianne Jenner beat Maddie Rooney in front of the net on the power play.

It wasn't until midway through the second period when Team USA finally got one by Desbiens, with Dani Cameranesi scoring off her own rebound to tie the game.

The momentum seemed to swing fully in the United States' favor when Alex Carpenter scored a backhand power-play goal two minutes later to put her team in front 2-1.

But the United States' only lead of the game would last less than 30 seconds. After Team USA turned over the puck in its own zone, Sarah Nurse made a spinning pass to Jenner, who lit the lamp for a second time to even the score.

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“Hockey’s a game of momentum shifts, so to come out and have a strong shift regardless of if we score or not after they do, it’s huge,” Jenner said. “They’re a good hockey team, they’re going make plays, but I think we answered really well tonight.”

Canada wasn't done there either, scoring two more goals over the next five-plus minutes to seize control of the game.

First, it was Jamie Lee Rattray, who scored on the doorstep off of a nice wraparound feed from Natalie Spooner. Then, Marie-Philip Poulin was hooked on a breakaway by Cayla Barnes and awarded a penalty shot, which she converted to extend Canada's lead to 4-2.

“I thought it was the difference in the game,” U.S. head coach Joel Johnson said of Canada's three-goal flurry in the second period. “I thought we carried all the momentum, and all of a sudden we just kind of forgot our situation a bit.”

Canada was held scoreless in the third period and finished with just over half as many shots on goal as Team USA (27), but it didn't matter as Desbiens capped her remarkable night by stopping the final 24 shots she faced.

Canada is now 6-2-1 all time against the United States at the Olympics, with five of those nine total matchups being a gold medal game. And it'd be surprising if the two teams didn't meet in a sixth gold medal game in Beijing.

The US lost to Canada in the women's hockey preliminary round on Monday and will now face the second-place team from Group B in the quarterfinals.

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