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NCAA.com | February 13, 2014

Dawn's early light

SOCHI, Russia -- The Canadian women's hockey team beat the United States 3-2 on Wednesday in a tense preview of the expected gold medal match, taking the lead on Hayley Wickenheiser's controversial third-period goal. Meghan Agosta scored in the second period to tie the game 1-1, and then Canada added the go-ahead goal 93 seconds later on a shot that U.S. goalie Jesse Vetter seemed to have stopped, drawing a whistle from referee Anna Eskola of Finland.

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The Americans allowed Meghan Agosta to break into the zone by herself and beat Vetter with just over five minutes remaining — the second goal of the game for the MVP of the 2010 Olympics — giving Canada a 3-1 lead. 

It was the Canadians' third consecutive Olympic victory against the U.S., including the gold medal games in Vancouver and Salt Lake. 

Hilary Knight also scored and Vetter stopped 28 shots for the United States, which also had secured a spot in the semis already. Charline Labonte made 25 saves for Canada, which had already earned a bye into the semifinals and now will take the No. 1 seed into the playoffs.

If they both win, they would meet again in the final.

The fans shouted dueling chants of "Ca-na-da!" and "U-S-A!" And none of the players on the bench sat down, either standing to cheer on their teammates or leaning over the boards.

Eight current NCAA student-athletes took to the ice in the match, including seven for Team USA.

Other notes:

Finland's Jenni Hiirikoski scored her second goal of the game with 2:22 left in overtime to help the 2010 bronze medalists escape with a 4-3 victory against Switzerland earlier Wednesday. Syracuse's Stefanie Marty scored for Switzerland in the loss.

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