Team LGBTQ more than tripled its gold medal count in one game when Team Canada defeated the United States 3-2 in the women’s ice hockey final of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
With the victory, all seven of Canada’s out athletes earned gold while Team USA’s Alex Carpenter picked up the first silver medal for an out LGBTQ athlete.
The Canadians appeared to be in control for most of the first half of the game and withstood a furious U.S. challenge over the final period to earn back the Olympic championship they’d lost in 2018.
Team USA missed a golden opportunity to strike first just a couple of minutes into the game. With the action concentrated to Canada goalie Ann-Renee Debiens’s left, the puck found its way to the other side of the ice.
American forward Hannah Brandt had a chance at a wide-open right side of the net but couldn’t get the good part of her stick on the puck in time and fired off an awkward shot that glanced off the right post. It would be the USA’s best chance of the first period.
Meanwhile, after having its first goal disallowed when USA coach Joel Johnson successfully challenged an offside call, Team Canada stayed on the attack. Following a US icing, Marie-Philip Poulin won a face-off to Claire Thompson.
With Sarah Nurse cutting to the front of the net, Thompson wound up as if to fire off a shot but ended up banking the puck into Nurse’s stick where she redirected it inside the left post for a 1-0 lead.
Seven minutes later, Poulin made her presence felt again off another USA mistake. While the US attempted to take the puck out of the zone, the Canadian captain picked Kelly Pannek’s pocket, skated to the center, and uncorked a shot through a screen just under US goaltender Alex Cavallini’s right arm to make it 2-0.
Almost nine minutes into the second period, Canada took what appeared to be a commanding 3-0 lead and once more, it was Poulin. Nurse led the attack and pulled up in front of the net as her teammates crashed the zone.
She unloaded a pass to Team LGBTQ’s Brianne Jenner whose shot was blocked by Cavallini. However, the rebound kicked off to the side where Poulin was waiting to score her second goal of the night off Cavallini’s skate.
For much of the rest of the second, Team USA kept racking up shots on goal but there was very little indication that the Canadians were feeling any pressure. Things appeared to go from bad to worse late in the period when U.S. defender Megan Keller was sent to the penalty box on a two-minute holding minor.
With her teammates trying to kill off the penalty, Brandt kicked the puck out of the zone onto the stick of a streaking Hillary Knight who had open ice in front of her. Knight was a study in persistence, as her first attempt was blocked and her second was saved. But on the rebound, her third try found the back of the net and the US was back in it 3-1.
The United States made a furious charge for the entirety of the third period but were met with mostly frustration. Team LGBTQ’s Carpenter had two prime scoring chances five minutes in when she took a rebound to Desbiens’s right and snapped off a shot that clanged off the left post despite a wide open far side of the goal.
Thirty seconds later, Carpenter beat both defenders on the rush and picked up the pass but sent a backhand directly into Desbiens’s chest.
For the period, Team USA outshot Canada 16-4 but continued being denied. Finally with 12 seconds to go and Poulin serving a tripping minor penalty, Carpenter found Abby Roque on the left side. Roque’s slapshot was denied but Amanda Kessel tucked the rebound in between Desbiens’s legs to make it 3-2.