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Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin celebrates her team's gold medal at the Beijing Olympics on Feb. 17, 2022.BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters

Marie-Philip Poulin’s clutch performance in another gold-medal game had all of hockey talking Thursday as her own family members tried to explain how she keeps rising to the challenge in big moments.

Poulin, 30, led with two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist as Canada regained its status as Olympic women’s hockey champions with a 3-2 win over the United States.

“For us, it’s almost normal now,” joked brother Pier-Alexandre Poulin in a phone interview. “It’s impressive.”

The Canadian captain scored in a fourth straight Olympic final. She has a combined seven goals in those games.

“I think she takes pressure as an opportunity, that’s how she faces those moments,” her brother said from Calgary where he watched the game. “She wants to be on the ice and she wants to enjoy it she wants to make the difference and she trained four years for that exact moment and she knows she’s going to be ready when the game is on the line.”

In Poulin’s hometown of Beauceville, south of Quebec City, people had been watching the Canadian team’s performance closely and that of Poulin, their hometown hero. Her image is everywhere in the city, including portraits of her affixed to the city’s recently opened new arena.

“Everybody is extremely proud of her, they’ve supported her since Day One, so I know she appreciates that support,” said Pier-Alexandre Poulin. “It’s special for her to know that when she play those gold medal games, she knows her entire hometown is behind her.”

It isn’t clear when Poulin and her teammates will return from Beijing, but the family said a celebration is in the works.

Normally, the town would have gathered as they have in the past to watch the big game at the local arena or high school. But COVID-19 pandemic health rules made that impossible.

Poulin’s own family, normally front and centre at the Olympics, got together at a local barn dressed up with Olympic and Team Canada paraphernalia to watch the game outdoors with a small group of family and friends.

“Sometimes we say to ourselves, we can’t believe that it happened again, but it happened again, it was extraordinary,” Danye Nadeau, Poulin’s mother, said Thursday.

She spoke to Poulin on Skype about 4 a.m. with her daughter describing how proud she was and crying tears of joy.

“I would have liked to have been with her to hold her in my arms,” Nadeau said.

NHL players weighed in on the Canadian women’s gusty performance, with Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid saying Poulin’s play is about rising to the moment.

“It first and foremost takes a great player,” he said. “It takes someone who doesn’t shy away from those moments. And she certainly hasn’t done that. She’s done it time and time again and it’s so, so impressive to see what she’s done.”

At Montreal Canadiens practice, veteran forward Paul Byron lauded Poulin’s talent.

“She’s an incredible player. I think it’s her fourth gold medal game in a row scoring,” he said. “She’s a heck of a player. I’ve seen her on the ice personally. She’s fast, she’s skilled, she plays the right way, she’s got a great shot. She’s definitely one of the best in the world and I’m super happy for her.”

Poulin’s latest performance even caught the attention of some U.S. hockey fans.

Hall of Famer Cammi Granato, a former captain of the U.S. women’s team, said she can’t think of another player – male or female – who’s more clutch in gold-medal games.

“For her to do what she does in those games, she’s set apart from anyone else. She is so unique in that way,” said Granato, now an assistant general manager for the Vancouver Canucks.

“She is such an integral part of [Team Canada’s] success. She has driven it. She has changed games. Her ability to do that, it’s incredible. It’s something to watch. She’s a gamer. She’s a true gamer.”

Asked if there was a secret to her daughter’s success, Nadeau said she’s not able to explain Poulin’s big game performances.

“She’s always adjusting in each game and when it’s a big game, she does it again,” Nadeau said. “It’s her way of doing things, it’s her trademark.”

– With files from Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver