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Canada names Olympic women’s hockey roster

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Marie-Philip Poulin and Shannon Szabados, stars of Canada’s last two Olympic gold-medal teams, lead the nation’s 23-player PyeongChang roster announced Friday.

The Canadians will go for their fifth straight Olympic hockey title, which would break the consecutive golds record shared by men’s teams from Canada (1920-32) and the Soviet Union (1964-76).

The U.S. roster is scheduled to be announced New Year’s Day at the NHL Winter Classic on NBC.

Poulin, a 26-year-old often called the female Sidney Crosby, scored both goals in a 2-0 Olympic final at Vancouver 2010 and the final-minute-tying and overtime-winning goals in the 3-2 stunner in Sochi in 2014.

Szabados, also going to her third Olympics after playing in men’s minor leagues in the U.S. in 2014, 2015 and 2016, was in net for both of those Olympic finals.

For the first time, Canada will go to the Olympics without legend Hayley Wickenheiser, who retired in January after winning her fourth Olympic gold medal in Sochi.

Other four-time Olympic champions Caroline Ouellette and Jayna Hefford also retired in this Olympic cycle.

Though Canada lost all three world championship finals to the U.S. since Sochi, it won the last four games of their eight-game pre-Olympic series that wrapped up Sunday.

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Canada Olympic women’s hockey roster
Shannon Szabados
Ann-Renée Desbiens
Geneviève Lacasse

Jocelyne Larocque
Brigette Lacquette
Lauriane Rougeau
Laura Fortino
Meaghan Mikkelson
Renata Fast

Meghan Agosta
Rebecca Johnston
Laura Stacey
Jennifer Wakefield
Jillian Saulnier
Melodie Daoust
Bailey Bram
Brianne Jenner
Sarah Nurse
Haley Irwin
Natalie Spooner
Emily Clark
Marie-Philip Poulin
Blayre Turnbull

Canada in control of hockey rivalry going into Olympics

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Four years ago, the U.S. women’s hockey team rode a four-game winning streak over rival Canada into the Olympics, then lost both games in Sochi, including a gut-wrenching overtime final.

This time, Canada goes into the Winter Games having won four straight.

The Canadians beat the Americans 2-1 in overtime in Edmonton on Sunday night, taking their pre-Olympic series 5-3 overall.

“I don’t think it was our best performance,” Canada coach Laura Schuler said. “There’s still more work to do.”

The Canadians were led by their stalwarts — captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored in regulation, Sochi gold medalist Jennifer Wakefield scored 26 seconds into overtime and longtime goalie Shannon Szabados stopped 34 of 35 shots.

Hilary Knight netted the U.S. goal, with Maddie Rooney making 24 saves.

“The goal for us is to be hitting on all cylinders in February,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said.

The U.S. appeared to be in that kind of form until about two weeks ago.

Before this losing streak, the U.S. had a 12-4 record against Canada since the start of 2015, including taking the last three world championship finals.

At one point, the U.S. won six straight games over a 12-month stretch, its longest streak over Canada since it famously won eight straight going into the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics then lost the gold-medal game.

Canada also beat the U.S. in their last four meetings before the 2006 Olympics and five straight going into the 2010 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team will be announced Jan. 1. The national-team roster is at 25 players (22 skaters, three goalies), but the Olympic roster is 23 (20 skaters, three goalies).

“Can’t live in the past, can’t live in the future, so tonight we were worried about this game,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said, according to the Canadian Press. “We weren’t looking ahead to February.”

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U.S. outlasts Canada in thriller to win World Championship

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The U.S. women’s hockey team avoided another collapse against Canada, winning the World Championship final 7-5 after squandering a 5-2 lead in Malmo, Sweden.

Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne potted third-period goals after Canada had tied the gold-medal game with three scores in a 2-minute, 3-second span in the second period.

The U.S. captured gold for the fifth time in the last six World Championships, making up a little bit for Canada’s four straight Olympic gold medals. The last, in Sochi, was the product of two Canadian goals in the final 3:26 of regulation, plus an overtime winner.

Saturday’s final was a vastly different affair, the highest-scoring game in the series history of more than 100 games dating to 1990, according to Hockey Canada records.

At the final horn, U.S. players threw their gloves and sticks, screamed and crowded goalie Alex Rigsby.

Canada chased U.S. starting goalie Jessie Vetter during its three-goal spurt in the second period. Vetter, 29, is the oldest player on the U.S. roster mixed with Olympians and Worlds rookies. She was in net for the last two Olympic gold-medal games.

The U.S. relied on its top line of Decker, Coyne and Hilary Knight. Knight scored one of four U.S. first-period goals before Canada erased that 5-2 deficit in the second and was named the tournament MVP.

The U.S. outshot Canada 36-27.

The U.S. played in Malmo with a new coach, former NHL defenseman Ken Klee, and without four-time Olympian Julie Chu plus forward Amanda Kessel. Kessel, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2013 Worlds final, has not played since the Sochi Olympics due to concussion effects.

Canada, too, missed stalwarts in Malmo, including five-time Olympian defenseman Hayley Wickenheiser (injury) and goalie Shannon Szabados. Szabados, whose presence appeared most missed Saturday, is playing men’s minor-league hockey with the Columbus (Ga.) Cottonmouths.

The game marked the finale for Canadian forward Caroline Ouellette, the only athlete to enter at least four Winter Olympic events and win gold in all of them.

The 2016 World Championships will be in Canada in Kamloops, B.C.

Behind the scenes of Miracle on Ice reunion