By Steve Keating
SOCHI, Russia Feb 21 (Reuters) - After Canada dished out two crushing ice hockey defeats to the United States in 24 hours at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the North American neighbours could be headed towards a new Cold War.
The Canadian women launched the first attack on Thursday when they roared back from a 2-0 deficit with less than four minutes left to claim a stunning 3-2 overtime win over the United States and snatch the gold medal from their grasp.
It was the Canadian men's turn on Friday to further strain cross-border relations, holding on for 1-0 win over the Americans to advance to the men's gold medal game against Sweden.
"We all feel disappointment with this game, maybe the disappointment was that it wasn't for a gold medal," U.S. coach Dan Bylsma told reporters.
"Two great teams in the tournament, a rematch from 2010 and there's huge disappointment for not being able to come up with a victory in this game."
For the U.S. women if was the third time in four Winter Games Canada have blocked their way to the top of the podium and they were left dazed again as they watched the Maple Leaf raised to the roof as their rivals celebrated another gold medal.
The U.S. men know the feeling.
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the gold medal was also within their reach until Sidney Crosby notched the overtime winner in the final to trigger a national celebration.
While the American women were left almost inconsolable, the men were more composed, blaming only themselves for a 1-0 loss after previously going unbeaten in the competiton.
"It was one of those tough games, we'll be thinking about this for a while," said U.S. forward David Backes.
"They did a good job of keeping us to the outside, limiting our chances and traffic in front of the net. We need to get to those hard areas and sustain that zone time to make sure we're getting bodies there.
"Didn't do that enough tonight." (Additional reporting by Frank Pingue. Editing by Ed Osmond)