Poulin doesn't shy away from pressure game

Neate Sager

Maybe it has been backward all this time: Marie-Philip Poulin is not the female Sidney Crosby. Sidney Crosby is the male Marie-Philip Poulin, although holding a Molson on the ice might not fit with his image.

There was an expectation the women's hockey gold-medal game would mark a night where the torch passed from Team Canada captain Hayley Wickenheiser to Meghan Agosta, who was the tournament MVP.

Instead, Poulin, the next Next One, who wasn't even born when the first women's world championship was held in 1990, jumped the queue. She scored both goals 2:55 apart in the first period of Canada's 2-0 win. Shannon Szabados made it stand up with 28 saves.

Poulin, who's now trending on Twitter, one-timed a a drop pass from veteran Jennifer Botterill past Jessie Vetter 13:55 into proceedings. Following an even-up penalty call that canceled out a U.S. power play, she won an offensive zone faceoff, got a return pass from Agosta and buried another shot behind Vetter.

People knew she had mad game, but Poulin maturing after joining the national team made it happen:

"Once painfully shy, particularly in English, Poulin has come out of her shell in the months she's spent centralized in Calgary with the Canadian team in preparation for the Olympics. She's a little more talkative now, but not a lot.

" 'The other day I was walking down the athletes' village and I heard, "Hi, Mel" and I looked and it was her,' head coach Melody Davidson said.

"I almost fell down. That's probably the most she's said to me without me instigating it.”

In that above-linked article, Poulin credited her brother Pier-Alexandre Poulin, who plays for the University of Moncton, in helping her develop great hands. It's been quite a month for the Poulin siblings and scoring clutch. Pier-Alexandre got the shootout winner two weeks ago when the Aigles Bleus needed a win to make the conference playoffs.

That pales next to what Marie-Philip Poulin did Thursday night. She won a gold meal to go along with the Clarkson Cup she won with the Montreal Stars last spring.

Now Crosby has to repeat the same feat: winning a championship, then a gold medal for his country.