The United States took their first gold medal in women’s hockey since the 1998 Nagano Games on Thursday at the Olympics from PyeongChang. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson broke the stalemate by scoring the winning goal in the shootout…
After a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Sochi Olympics in 2014, the Americans came from behind to end a 20-year-old Canadian domination.
“It’s obviously very difficult to digest right now. When you play in the final, you want to win. It was a good game and both teams gave it all, but it’s sad to lose in the shootout, said Canada’s captain Marie-Philip Poulin. Every four years we raise our game up and it’s good for women’s hockey.”
Just as Poulin did for Canada in 2014, Lamoureux-Davidson played heroines in this final.
After Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied the game with less than seven minutes left in the third, Lamoureux-Davidson advanced in the sixth round of the shootout and thwarted Shannon Szabados, who was out all the way down the ice.
Szabados worked miracles on the Canadian side, repelling 40 of 42 shots at her side, before giving in three shootouts. Haley Irwin and Poulin hit the target in the second period for Canada.
Hilary Knight hit the mark in the first period to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. Maddie Rooney sold twice in 31 shots.
The result was so difficult to accept that Canadian defender Jocelyne Larocque immediately took the silver medal around her neck.
“It’s very difficult,” she said. We go for gold and I’m proud of the whole team, but it’s not the right medal.”
While the Americans trailed 2-1 in the third period, Lamoureux-Morando benefited from a very bad change on the side of the Canadian women to be alone in front of Szabados. The attacker made a few faults before beating the Canadian goalkeeper in the skylight.
Unable to replicate in the final six minutes of play, both teams had to retreat to the locker room for an overtime period, strangely reminiscent of the scenario that had occurred in the last Olympic Games.
This time, the Canadian women did not get the fairy tale.
Taking advantage of a third power play, the Americans took the lead 1-0 while there were only 25 seconds to the first commitment. Posted in front of the Canadian cage, Knight deflected Sidney Morin’s shot past Szabados, who had an obstructed view.
The Canadian women, however, took advantage of the first intermission to take stock and come back in force. With two minutes left on the clock in the middle, Irwin allowed Canada to level 1-1. On the sequence, the shot-pass did not seem threatening, but the puck ended up behind the goal line.
The Canadians then came back to form a goal lead. After intercepting the puck in neutral zone, Poulin left alone in the enclave, shot a shot on receipt to give the lead 2-1 to his.
Canada was trying to win a fifth Olympic title in a row.
“There are not many words to describe how we feel, but it was very good for women’s hockey,” said Canada’s coach Laura Schuler. We were expecting this kind of match. It was a battle to the very end. This is not the expected result.”
Despite the defeat, Mélodie Daoust, who had three goals and four assists during her Olympic career, and Szabados were respectively named player par excellence and best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Tournament leaders handed the title of the best defender to Finland’s Jenni Hiirikoski and the title of the best striker to Swiss Alina Muller.