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Hilary Knight of the United States and Catherine Ward of Canada battle for control of the puck during the 2014 second period of the Winter Olympics women's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Olympics: Canada bests U.S. 3-2 in women’s hockey
First Published Feb 12 2014 08:10 am • Last Updated Feb 25 2014 04:47 pm

Sochi, Russia • Canada’s mastery of Team USA in Olympic women’s hockey continues.

Meghan Agosta scored a pair of goals during a third-period Canadian burst to help secure a 3-2 victory Wednesday in the final game of the preliminary round.

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Canada is 3-0 against the United States in the Olympics since Team USA won the gold medal in 1998.

Hilary Knight gave Team USA a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal with 2:26 remaining in the second period. She redirected former Gophers defenseman Anne Schleper’s point shot past Canadian goalie Charline Labonte.

But Canada stormed the U.S. net to start the third, starting with Agosta’s first goal — on the power play.

Then, controversy.

U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter stopped a shot and pounced on the rebound. However, the puck was knocked loose and into the net by Hayley Wickenheiser. Team USA argued the play had been whistled dead.

But referee Anna Eskola of Finland, after consulting replay officials, affirmed the goal, and the Canadians were rolling.

Agosta iced it with her second goal, scoring on a breakaway with 5:05 remaining.

After the U.S. pulled its goalie, Schleper scored with 1:05 left, but the Americans could not push the equalizer past Labonte.

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Team USA had won four consecutive games against Canada after dropping the first three in their seven-game pre-Olympic series — a nasty exhibition that included a brawl.

In 16 years of Olympic competition the neighboring countries have won every gold medal.

Canada is three-time defending Olympic gold medalists. The United States has won two silvers and debuted with gold when the sport became an Olympic sport in 1998.

Canada manhandled the United States early in their fall series, winning the first three games. A 3-1 loss to Finland in November cost the Americans a chance to win the Four Nations Cup at Lake Placid, N.Y., prompting the team to strip down its scheme and recalibrate to attack teams instead of reacting to what they were bringing.

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