Canada earned the top seed in the Beijing Olympics women's hockey tournament with a 4-2 win over the United States on Tuesday, despite getting outshot 53-27 by the Americans.
Forward Brianne Jenner scored two goals and goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens made 51 saves for Canada, as the U.S. dominated in shots on goal but couldn't convert its chances.
"We had a lot of offensive zone time and generated a lot of shots. But shots don't win games; goals do. We ended up on the wrong side of the goal scoring," U.S. coach Joel Johnson said.
Canada (4-0) finished atop Group A, while the U.S. (3-1) ended up second. The preliminary round final was only for seeding, as the entirety of their group automatically qualified for the medal round that begins Friday.
The U.S. dominated the first period everywhere except the scoreboard, buzzing the Canadian zone and hitting the post on multiple shots. When Jenner scored a power-play goal 14:10 into the period, the U.S. had a 14-3 shot advantage.
The U.S. vs. Canada rivalry reached its expected levels of chaos in the second period, with four goals in a span of 5:08 and a penalty shot that left the Canadians up 4-2 heading into the third period.
Team USA's Dani Cameranesi scored on her own rebound to erase a 1-0 Canada lead 9:17 into the opening period. Alex Carpenter converted a perfect pass from Amanda Kessel for a power-play goal 2:17 later for a 2-1 U.S. lead. But its advantage was very short-lived, as Jenner caught the Americans by surprise with a drive to the net and her second goal of the game just 26 seconds later. Canada forward Jamie Lee Rattray scored 2:25 after that for the 3-2 lead, as Canada's Natalie Spooner took advantage of some U.S. defensive confusion with a pinpoint pass to Rattray.
"In the dressing room, we talked about not letting momentum swing, so that's something that we've been focusing on. Whenever we let a goal in, it's just a fresh start when the puck drops and forget what happens," Desbiens said. "I think it just shows how resilient we are, how we can just change the focus and don't let momentum swing for too long."
Canada scored a critical goal with 2:35 seconds left in the second period on a U.S. power-play gaffe. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin collected an errant pass on the Canadian penalty kill and sped down the ice on a breakaway, with U.S. defender Cayla Barnes eventually tripping her from behind.
The International Ice Hockey Federation threshold for a penalty shot is "if an attacking skater is on a breakaway and is fouled by an opponent from behind," so Poulin was given one and scored against goalie Maddie Rooney for the 4-2 lead.
Canada scored three straight goals on just four shots in that stretch.
"We'll learn from this game. Unfortunate second period. You'd never want to give up that many goals. I'll learn from this moving forward into the next games," Rooney said.
The Americans never recovered, unable to cut the lead despite a 21-6 shot advantage in the third period.
The U.S. struggled on the power play, converting once in six opportunities, and it is now 4-for-19 for the Olympics.