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USA vs. Canada final score: Canada mounts furious comeback, wins women's hockey gold in overtime

Trailing by two goals late in the third period, Canada mounted a comeback for the ages en route to a gold medal in women's hockey.

Bruce Bennett

SB Nation 2014 Winter Olympic Coverage

A hockey goal is six feet wide. For the Canadians, every inch of that dimension is to thank for its latest Olympic gold medal.

Marie-Philip Poulin played an instrumental role as well.

In what lived up to its billing as a tightly contested, physical tilt between the biggest rivals in women's hockey, Canada won its fourth gold medal in five Olympic games, defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime, with Poulin scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Exhibition games leading up to the Olympics elevated the profile of this rivalry with the United States defeating Canada four consecutive times in games that were more remembered for their physicality and post-whistle shenanigans.

But when the Olympic tournament began in Sochi, it was the Canadians finding a measure of revenge in pool play, handing the Americans their only loss of the tournament in a 3-2 tilt before the playoff round began.

Canada looked like it'd falter again with the gold medal on the line, but a furious Canadian comeback in the last 3:26 dashed the Americans' hopes of winning the tournament.

The dislike was palpable from the onset. Collisions were present, as much as the referees would allow. Six minor penalties were assessed on body checks and other physical contact over the three periods and eight-plus minutes of overtime.

The first half of the game, while played through that disdain, was also played evenly with no goal scoring. The United States held an advantage in shots, while Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados kept the United States off the scoreboard.

With the goalie pulled, it looked like the United States might seal the deal.

But at the 8:14 mark of the second period, Canada took a faceoff in the United States' zone. After the puck made its way back through center though, Jocelyne Lamoureux won it off the wall for the Americans. As she skated down to the circles in the Canadian zone, she dropped the puck for Meghan Duggan. The Danvers, Mass. native found the puck on her tape, and snapped a shot under the bar to beat Szabados for a 1-0 lead at the 8:03 mark of the second period.

One of the bigger sequences in the game came later in the period, when Canada got 32 seconds of 5-on-3 play after a too many men bench minor and a cross check. After the United States won the initial faceoff, the Americans killed off the rest of the two-skater advantage with a crucial blocked shot from Gigi Marvin.

The second period would end with the same 1-0 score, and the third would begin with the Canadians quickly putting themselves in a shorthanded situation after a Tara Watchorn trip. The United States would capitalize and find a crucial second goal when Hilary Knight whipped a pass through the dot and onto Alex Carpenter's stick for a tap-in goal on the power play and a 2-0 edge.

Canada would pull to within a goal with 3:26 remaining in the third period. Off the rush, Brianne Jenner took a shot that deflected off an American skater and past Jessie Vetter to make it a 2-1 game.

With the goalie pulled, it looked like the United States might seal the deal. An empty-net bid from center ice slid through the zone, down past the circles, into the crease, but off the post.

Canada would quickly find an equalizer.

After a frantic sequence, Poulin would pot a goal from out in front with only 55 seconds remaining, knotting the score at 2-2 and sending the game to overtime.

But Poulin's work was hardly done.

As both teams took penalties in the overtime, the Canadians got a 4-on-3 chance, this time to ice the game. After working the puck around the zone, a Poulin shot eluded Vetter, sealing the win for the Canadians in dramatic, overtime fashion.

Szabados was also monumental for the Canadians in the win. She made 27 saves, many of which came in overtime on chances right in front to keep Canada in the game.

For the United States, the silver medal marks its third second-place finish at the Olympics in five tournaments.