Sudbury's Rebecca Johnston had a key assist as Team Canada rallied late in the third period, going on to win hockey gold in overtime at the Sochi Olympics on Thursday.
Johnston, a forward, ended her Olympics on a point-a-game pace, finishing with two goals and three assists in five games. She assisted on Marie-Philip Poulin's goal late in the third period and was on the ice for all three Team Canada's markers, including Poulin's overtime winner.
On the first goal, forward Brianne Jenner scored with less than four minutes left and Canada down 2-0. Johnston headed to the front of the USA net just as Jenner let her shot go. Team USA defender Kacey Bellamy moved to slow Johnston's momentum, and as Bellamy turned, the puck deflected off her knee pad and into the American net.
With just 55 seconds left in the game and Canada down 2-1, Johnston won a battle along the boards and sent a pass to the front of the net. The puck deflected off Team USA goalie Jessie Vetter's stick and right to Poulin, who lifted her shot over Vetter's goalie pads, sending the game to overtime.
Penalties were the story in overtime. Canadian defenceman Catherine Ward was assessed a cross-checking minor at 6:09, but the U.S. advantage was nullified when American Jocelyne Lamoureux was sent off for slashing six seconds later. When American forward Hilary Knight took the U.S.'s second straight penalty at 7:31, Canada was set for a brief two-player advantage.
And, with just five seconds left in Lamoureux's penalty, Johnston passed the puck to defenceman Laura Fortino in the slot. Fortino and Poulin traded passes before Poulin buried the goal to seal the win.
Johnston, 24, now has two goal medals -- she won her first with Team Canada in Vancouver in 2010, along with another Sudbury native, Tessa Bonhomme. Johnston had a goal and two assists in the tournament opener, a 5-0 win over Switzerland and added another goal in the team's 3-0 win over Finland.
She has been active on twitter (@RJohnst16 ) during the Games, tweeting photos of herself and teammates as they take in other sports or head to and from practice.
“My favourite part of pracky (practice),” she wrote Feb. 17, and tweeted a picture of her and and teammate Charline Labonte riding a golf cart on her way to the rink.
On Feb. 15, she tweeted a picture of her and her mom Colleen holding the banner sent from Sudbury and signed by hundreds of well-wishers in the city.
“Thank you Sudbury for all the support as I continue my journey in Sochi!” Johnston wrote.
The Cornell graduate was the leading scorer in the 2011-2012 campaign, her last before graduating, and finished her career at No. 5 on Cornell’s all-time scoring list. According to the Cornell Sun online newspaper, Johnston was also named ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, Ivy League Player of the Year, a Patty Kazmaier finalist and a First Team All-American in her final year at school.
She joins Lively skater Meagan Duhamel as Sudburians who won medals at Sochi. Duhamel and pairs skating partner Eric Radford won silver as part of the team figure skating event.
“Still having a great time in Sochi!!!” Duhamel (@mhjd_85) tweeted Feb. 16. “Even saw skeleton and ski jumping! Back to training tomorrow. Worlds is coming!”
The pair finished their Olympics on Feb. 12, but on Wednesday tweeted a picture of themselves and much of the figure skating team cheering Canada on at the men's curling semifinal against China.
Devon Kershaw, Sudbury's cross-country skiing entry at the Olympics, still has the 50K Men's Mass Start Classic, which goes Feb. 23, the final day of the Games.