USA Women's Hockey Tops Canada In Gold Medal Thriller
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - For the American women, the third time was the charm. Team USA and Canada met for the third consecutive gold medal game of the women's ice hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics, and for once, it was the United States that came out on top with a 3-2 victory.
For the second straight tournament, it required extra time to decide a winner. In Sochi in 2014, it was Canada taking it in overtime. In Pyeongchang, it was the U.S. in a shootout. Jocelyne Lamoureux got the winning shootout tally for the U.S., while 20-year-old goalie Maddie Rooney denied Canada on its final attempt to seal the victory.
For the American women, it's their first gold medal at the Olympics since the inaugural women's tournament in Nagano in 1998. This one comes 38 years to the day of the "Miracle On Ice."
Canada goalie Shannon Szabados was excellent, making 42 saves in the losing effort. Rooney was spectacular as well, making 31 stops of her own.
The Canadian women, who were looking for their fifth straight gold, came out of the gate strong. Their defense frustrated the United States early and the Americans didn't record their first shot on goal until about eight minutes into the first period. The U.S., however, did strike first.
Hilary Knight opened the scoring with 26 seconds remaining in the first period when she redirected a Sidney Morin shot past Szabados. It was Knight's second goal in as many games, and it gave the United States a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Canada didn't wait long to answer on the other side of that intermission. It was Haley Irwin who netted the equalizer just two minutes into the second period. Blayre Turnbull managed to get past an American defenseman and chip a centering pass to Irwin, who used her stick to tip it in midair. The puck trickled past USA goalie Maddie Rooney and tied the game 1-1.
Five minutes later, Canada took the lead on the strength of a goal from captain Marie-Philip Poulin. After the U.S. failed to wrangle the puck in the neutral zone, Meghan Agosta gathered the loose biscuit and carried it into the offensive zone before finding Poulin, who finished with a one-timer.
The officiating was a little questionable throughout the contest, but the most egregious missed call came in the third period when Poulin crushed USA's Brianna Decker, who was trying to put a loose puck on net, with a big hit in front of the Canadian net.
Because Poulin made contact with Decker's head on the play, Team USA coach Robb Stauber wanted a five-minute major served to Poulin, but the play went unpenalized. (Body checking is illegal in women's hockey, but body contact is legal.)
Canada kept USA's offense at bay with some solid defensive pressure, but the Americans caught Canada in a bad line change and took advantage with about six minutes left in the third period. Monique Lamoureux was gifted with a breakaway and she finished with a wrister past Szabados, tying the game 2-2.
That goal helped deliver overtime, but overtime didn't help deliver a winner. After 20 minutes of scoreless play, it headed to a shootout -- and the United States was finally able to grasp its long-anticipated glory on the Olympic stage.