Nathan Goralski ‘18: For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Women stand on top of the podium. The Olympic Games of 1998 in Nagano marked the last time the women wore gold. Salt Lake City, Torino, Vancouver, and Sochi all belonged to Canada. They were only the second team ever to win four straight golds, matching the Soviet Union Men who won from ‘64-’76. Team USA snapped each of these streaks. The Soviet Union’s streak ended with what we know to be the Miracle on Ice in 1980. The U.S. Women ended Canada’s streak of four straight golds early on the morning of February 22.
The two powerhouses in women’s hockey faced-off in the final preliminary game earlier in the Olympics. Canada just outplayed the United States 2-1 in the preliminary. The rivalry between the two has been heightened as of recent, with the most memorable game in in 2014 at the Sochi Olympic Games. The United States Women held a 2-0 lead with under four minutes left in the third period. Then out of nowhere the Canadian Women scored two goals to force overtime. Overtime ended with a Canadian goal and won the gold medal game 3-2.
The United States Women circled this date on their calendar in 2014 after Sochi concluded with a silver medal. With revenge on the mind, Team USA came out guns-a-blazing against Canada in the gold medal game. The beginning of period one favored Canada as the United States got zero shots on goal in the first eight minutes. Tides turned quickly though, as Canada found themselves getting into penalty trouble, committing three penalties in the first period. The U.S. struck first. With 26 seconds remaining in the period, Idaho native Hilary Knight redirected the puck into the net to give the United States a 1-0 lead heading into intermission.
Period number two started in favor of Canada, scoring only three minutes in to tie the game. The Canadian’s continued to pour on pressure tallying another goal five minutes later to give Canada a 2-1 lead. Despite many scoring opportunities, the United States couldn’t find the tying goal, Canada took a 2-1 lead into period three.
Team USA produced great chances to score early in the third, but they couldn’t come through. Finally, Canada made a mistake on a line change. With no Canadian defense back, Kelly Panneck found Monique Lamoureux-Morando across the ice for a breakaway. Lamoureux-Morando raced in one-on-one and put the puck in the top corner to tie the game with 6:21 remaining.
It was a deja vu moment, the gold medal game entered overtime just like in Sochi.
Overtime is a twenty minute period of 4 on 4 hockey. A sudden death goal needed to try and decide a winner. Team USA came out quick and physical with many chances to score in the overtime period. The United States outplayed Canada in overtime, neither team able to capitalize. Now, a shootout decides the winner.
In the shootout, through five rounds, each team tied at two goals a piece. In the sixth round where if a team scores and the other doesn’t, the team that scores wins. United States shooter, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson used an amazing deke to score. Canada needed to score to keep the game going. Maddie Rooney, U.S. goaltender, turned aside the attempt. The U.S. Women wins the game 3-2 in the sixth round of the shootout.
Overall, the United States outplayed the Canadians, leading the shot total 42-31. The Canadians also didn’t help themselves by committing six penalties which helped the U.S. Women win their first gold medal in 20 years.