Canada falls to U.S. in women’s hockey final

The Canadian Press

The second step on the Olympic podium was a place of both joy and pain for Canada’s athletes on Day 13 of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
The silver medal was no consolation prize for Canada’s women’s hockey team, which had its bid for a fifth straight Olympic gold medal shut down in heartbreaking fashion with a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States in today’s championship game.
No previous final had ever been decided by a shootout.
“It sucks,” Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados said of the shootout. “It becomes more individual and less of a team thing.”
Finishing second to their archrivals was a bitter pill to swallow for the Canadians. Defender Jocelyne Larocque took off her silver medal the moment it was hung around her neck.
“It’s just hard,” she said.
It was a different story for rising short-track speedskating star Kim Boutin, who capped her impressive first Olympics with a silver medal in the women’s 1,000 metres.
The 23-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que., won a medal in every women’s singles discipline after claiming bronze in the 500- and 1,500-metre races.
“I really enjoyed it. I feel I was there to enjoy every moment and I was there not to perform, but learn,” Boutin said of her Olympic debut.
“Getting the medals was unbelievable and I didn’t expect that, but it was pretty awesome.”
The men’s 5,000-metre relay team followed with a bronze, giving Canada six short-track medals in South Korea.
Curler Kevin Koe will also be competing for a medal, but not the one he wanted.
The Calgary skip was relegated to the bronze-medal match after being upset 5-3 by the United States in today’s semifinals.
“It’s hugely disappointing,” Koe said. “What more can you say? You don’t have to say much else.”
Canada was third in the medal standings heading into the final three days of competition with 24–nine gold, seven silver and eight bronze.
Norway led with 35 medals (13 gold) followed by Germany with 25 (13 gold).
After nothing could be decided in a 20-minute overtime, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the deciding goal in the women’s hockey final and rookie American goalie Maddie Rooney stopped Meghan Agosta to end the game.
The win was redemption for the Americans, who lost in overtime four years ago in Sochi.
Hilary Knight and Monique Lamoureux-Morando scored in regulation for the Americans.
Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin replied for Canada, which was buoyed by a 40-save performance from Szabados.
Canada’s only other loss in the gold-medal game came in 1998, when the sport made its Olympic debut.
Boutin and the men’s 5,000 short-track relay team added to Canada’s medal haul later.
Boutin finished second with a time of one minute 29.956 second in an impressive five-skater field that included world record holder Shim Sukhee of South Korea.
But it was Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands who came through with a surprise gold.
“I felt that on the fourth lap Suzanne passed me,” Boutin said.
“She raced pretty well at the end and I felt I had a lot of speed, but I think for me it was best to keep my second position and to control this.”
Italy’s Arianna Fontana earned bronze when Shim and fellow South Korean Choi Min-jeong crashed.
The men’s relay result gave veteran Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., a fifth Olympic medal.
He matched Marc Gagnon and Francois-Louis Tremblay for the most career Olympic short-track speedskating medals by a Canadian.
“Oh, it was a crazy race. It was an awesome race,” Hamelin said.
“We had a plan. It didn’t work like we planned. I think this is short track but we raced for the gold and I think the medal we have right now, the bronze, can be as proud as if we were the gold medallist.”
Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., and Montreal’s Pascal Dion also helped Canada win bronze.
It was Girard’s second medal of the Games after winning the men’s 1,000 earlier. Hungary won gold in an Olympic record while China took silver.
Girard just missed out on another medal earlier today when he finished fourth in the 500.
On the curling sheets, Koe’s team put themselves in a hole after a disastrous eighth end. Holding the hammer, Koe was surprisingly weak on his attempt to draw for a single point, giving the Americans a steal of two and a 4-2 lead.
“We were in control the whole game until then,” Koe said.
“We weren’t really in trouble that end at all. That’s kind of what’s frustrating. I think we got fooled a little. The ice started coming down a little. (The shot) was probably a little light as well. You know, what can you say?”
The Americans will now take on Niklas Edin in Saturday’s final after Sweden downed Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz 9-3 in eight ends in the other semi. The bronze-medal game between Canada and the Swiss goes Friday.
Switzerland beat Canada 8-6 in the round-robin portion of the tournament.
Canadian men had won three straight Olympic curling gold medals–Brad Jacobs (2014), Kevin Martin (2010) and Brad Gushue (2006)–while never missing a final at the Games since the sport was reintroduced in 1998.
Elsewhere, Canadians failed to make the podium in women’s snowboard big air. Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, B.C., finished ninth while Laurie Blouin of Stoneham, Que., was 12th.
O’Brien scored a combined 113.25 points over her three runs in the sport’s Olympic debut.
“I ended up going with a lot safer of runs than I would have liked to but that’s how the day panned out for me,” O’Brien said.
“Pretty disappointed I couldn’t put on my best but that’s kind of what I had today and that’s how it goes.”
Blouin, who won a silver medal last week in slopestyle, fell on her first big air jump, scored 39.25 on her second and opted not to take her third run.
Blouin said she had been nursing a bruise on her left buttock since yesterday and aggravated it when she fell on her first jump.
Austria’s Anna Gasser won gold, scoring 96 on her final run for a combined 185 points. American Jamie Anderson took silver with 177.25 points and Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand earned bronze.
Canada also finished off the podium in the men’s ski halfpipe, won by defending Olympic champ David Wise of the United States.
Noah Bowman of Calgary finished fifth while Mike Riddle of Sherwood Park, Alta., the silver medallist from the Sochi Games, was sixth.
Bowman scored 89.40 points on his first run but struggled on his last two.
“I knew I could step up the run–I had more to show and did not get to show it,” Bowman said. “I was mainly planning on going bigger . . . It could have been done, but it did not happen.”
Elsewhere, Valerie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was an impressive sixth in the women’s alpine combined event.