U.S. Women win first Olympic gold medal in 20 years
The game was marked for greatness, and it delivered, especially for the United States.
The Women’s hockey gold medal game was another grudge match between perennial rivals USA and Canada, and it was played on the 38th anniversary (Feb. 22) of the Men’s Olympic hockey “Miracle on Ice” win against the Soviet Union in 1980.
And after 80 minutes of play and 12 shooters in a shootout, the United States came out of it with its first Olympic gold medal since winning the first-ever in 1998.
When goalie U.S. Maddie Rooney stopped the shot of Canada’s Megan Agosta and then swept the puck away as it was still slowly sliding towards the goal line, it gave the United States a 3-2 win in the contest in Gangneung, South Korea, on Thursday.
Rooney, 20, was 71/2 years old when the U.S. Women last won the gold medal on Brownstown’s Shelley Looney’s goal against Canada.
But the Canadians took the next four Olympic gold medals in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. And all but one of those wins came at the expense of the U.S., which had to settle for three silver medals and a bronze in that span.
The most painful of those losses came in 2014, when the U.S. was up by two goals but couldn’t hold the lead and suffered a crushing defeat in overtime.
Ten members of the 2018 United States team were on that squad.
“This is greater than a trophy or a medal,” U.S. center Gigi Marvin, in her third Olympics, told USA Today.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the shootout winner with a move she calls “Oops, I did it again.” She skated slowly toward the net, faked a shot, shifted the puck left, then pulled it right before tucking the puck past the outstretched glove of diving Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados.
“I butchered it a thousand times,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Just glad it worked this time.”
Marvin and Amanda Kessel scored for Team USA in the regulation first five shots of the shootout, while Canada’s Agosta and Melodie Daoust beat Rooney.
The U.S. had lost five consecutive games to Canada, dating to the pre-Olympic tour, and also lost to the Canadians earlier in the Olympic tournament.
“But I never felt for one minute that it wasn’t going to work out,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said. “You could see in the locker room that players were dialed in.”
U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said it all:
“The greatest day of all our lives.”