Canada’s women’s hockey team jumped to a 2-0 lead against their US rivals in the gold-medal game at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday.
Canada’s Sarah Nurse scored the first goal to make it 1-0, after a previous goal by a different player was called back due to an offsides penalty. Later in the first period Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin scored to make it 2-0.
The US and Canada are meeting in the in the final match for the sixth time in seven Olympics.
The final game at the Wukesong Sports Center will give the American team the chance to win its first back-to-back Olympic gold medal since the women’s competition was introduced 24 years ago.
For Canada, a win would be revenge for the shootout loss it suffered at the hands of the US at the 2018 PyeongChang Games.
“I think it’s wonderful hockey. It’s the most beautiful rivalry in sports,” US forward Hilary Knight said Monday after the semi-final win over Finland. “It gets the best and the worst out of both of us at the same time. And it’s just a wonderful game.”
The US and Canada have faced each other in six of the seven gold-medal games held since the women’s competition was introduced at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. The US had come off slightly worse, losing to their northern neighbors at three of those meetings, compared to two wins.
Before Thursday’s match in Beijing, Canada led with four golds and two silvers, compared to the US’ two golds, three silvers and a bronze.
The US beat Canada for the gold in 1998 and again at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but Canada won the gold in the other four Olympics.
The only time the two teams did not meet in the final match was at in 2006 at Torino, Italy, when the US lost in the semi-finals and beat Finland for a bronze. Canada won the gold against Sweden that year.
Finland won the bronze with a 4-0 win over Switzerland in Beijing Thursday.
In the men’s competition, the US team was eliminated in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, losing 2-3 to Slovakia in a shootout.
The Associated Press contributed.