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Stunner in Sochi: USA-Canada battle to amazing finish for gold

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If you don't want to know the outcome of the USA-Canada women's hockey gold-medal game, stop reading. NBC Sports Network will show a replay of the game at 4 p.m. 

The ending was miraculous, but the outcome was disastrous for the Americans in the women's hockey gold-medal game.

Trailing 2-0 with just 2:26 left in regulation, Canada's Brianne Jenner scored to cut Team USA's lead to one. The ensuing moments were heart-stopping.

Canada pulled its goalie in a last-ditch effort to tie the game and it worked, but not before the U.S. came within inches of putting the game out of reach when a shot fired on the empty-net hit the post and deflected wide of going in.

Seconds later the Canadians struck again on a goal by Marie-Philip Poulin – a goal that tied the game and broke the hearts of an American fan base only 54 seconds from celebrating a gold-medal victory. Canada, with far less drama, finished their qualifying round victory over the U.S. in similar fashion by scoring all three of their goals in the final period.

A little more than eight minutes into overtime, Poulin scored the deciding goal on a power play from just inside the left circle. Final score: Canada 3, USA 2.

While members of Team USA had tears falling from their eyes, Canada's players were tossing their sticks, gloves and helmets into the air in a well-deserved celebration.

International rules dictate that overtime hockey is played with four players to a side, but a cross-checking penalty on Hilary Knight gave Canada a critical 4-on-3 advantage – and they used it to win the game.

Meghan Duggan gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a goal at the 11:57 mark of the second period, and the lead grew to 2-0 after Alex Carpenter's shot found the back of the net on a power play just two minutes into the third period.

Canada has claimed four consecutive gold medals in women's hockey. The U.S. won the gold in the inaugural women's Olympic tournament in 1998, but has finished second to Canada in three of the last four Olympics.

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