Canada Stuns U.S. Women In Comeback Win

The two rival ice hockey teams had been dominant in Olympic competition, but Canada triumphs in the finals, winning in overtime after a last-minute comeback.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The Winter Olympics gave us a match for the ages today: The U.S. and Canadian women's hockey teams fought for gold. The rivalry between them has been intense, and the final game lived up to its billing. The Canadians won in overtime, 3 to 2.

NPR's Tamara Keith was in the Bolshoi Ice Dome in Sochi, and joins us now. Hey there, Tamara.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.

CORNISH: So the U.S. led for much of the game. What happened?

KEITH: Oh, my gosh. I think my heart is still beating from this game. It was - these teams are just so closely matched, and shots on goal were evenly matched. And through the first two periods, the U.S. women were up 2-0. And then in the last period, Canada got a goal. And then in the final minute of the game, they got a second goal - tying it up to go into overtime, 2-2.

CORNISH: And then for that overtime, we were all riveted here in the newsroom.

(LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: Explain what happened when it broke Canada's way.

KEITH: So they ended up - Canada ended out with a power play, which means they had an advantage. In fact, they had a two-person advantage on the ice. And they were passing the puck back and forth and then took a shot on goal, and the American goalie just couldn't quite get to it. And the Americans were really outmanned, at that point, because of the power play. After the game, we spoke with Julie Chu who's a forward on the American team. She said, you know, it just wasn't going their way.

JULIE CHU: Yeah, that's how momentum goes sometimes. You know, like, we were playing well. They scored a goal and then got another one a little bit later. But that sometimes happens.

KEITH: On the medal stand, I just have to say that all of the American women were crying. And, you know, it's this crazy thing - they were holding silver medals in their hands; they had silver medals around their necks. But that's not what they came to Sochi for.

CORNISH: And, of course, if you looked out into the crowd, there were many Canadians - right? - sporting their red and white. Describe the atmosphere in the arena.

KEITH: Oh, every time Americans tried to start - the few Americans there were - start this USA, USA chant, they were immediately drowned out by Can-a-da! Can-a-da! I ran into four Canadian guys dressed as Elvis with maple leaves on the back of their white suits.

CORNISH: That's confusing.

KEITH: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

KEITH: Never mind that. But the ultimate was a man named Diego Lucero, who actually carved a maple leaf into the chest hair - his chest hair - and then dyed it red. He yelled so much during the game that he lost his voice.

DIEGO LUCERO: It was amazing - that first goal, and we lit up. And every - there was hope back in our hearts. And then that second goal - oh, my God, it was just amazing. And we knew it was coming. We knew deep in our hearts - that deep in our Canadian hearts that that was going to happen.

CORNISH: Now, Tamara, I want to take a quick moment to switch to a more serious topic. Given the violence between police and protesters in Ukraine, there have been some comments about this crisis in Sochi. Can you tell us about them?

KEITH: Yeah, Ukrainian alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska has said that she will not compete in the women's slalom event tomorrow because of the developments in Kiev. Her father and coach, Oleg Matsotska, wrote on Facebook that his daughter's withdrawal was a protest against what he called lawless action against demonstrators. Clearly, the violence in Kiev is affecting Ukrainian athletes here.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Tamara Keith, in Sochi. Tamara, thanks so much.

KEITH: You're welcome.

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