GANGNEUNG: United States women captured Olympic ice hockey gold for the first time in 20 years on Thursday after a dramatic 3-2 shootout triumph over four-time defending champion Canada.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the deciding shootout goal after five shots for each team ended deadlocked 2-2, faking a backhand and beating Canada goaltender Shannon Szabados with a forehand on a move dubbed “Ooops, I did it again.”
“I knew you have to sell the shot and get her to go down,” she said. “I came in slow. I knew it was the move I was going to make.
“It was a dream come true. It was special.”
Then 20-year-old US goalie Maddie Rooney, who was seven-months-old when the US women last captured Olympic hockey gold in 1998 at Nagano, denied Meghan Agosta’s attempted equaliser between Rooney’s legs to give the Americans their long-sought gold.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Rooney said. “When she cut across, a lot of people go 5-hole. I kind of anticipated it.”
The American team raced off the bench in jubilation, Rooney at the bottom of a celebratory pile as hugs and flag waving began.
“Everything went into a blur,” she said. “To see my teammates running at me was an unbelievable feeling.”
The Americans snapped arch-rival Canada’s 24-match Olympic women’s hockey win streak, a painful loss that had the silver medallists in tears, a medal so painful to Jocelyne Larocque that she removed it as soon as it was placed around her neck.
“It just hurt,” Larocque said. “We worked so hard. We wanted gold. We didn’t get it. Guess it’s motivation.”
“This medal really hurts. We’re going to have to move forward now. It’s painful,” said Canada’s Melodie Daoust. “I’m really sad for our team.”
US women have struggled to seize gold on the game’s biggest stage despite winning seven of the past world championship finals over Canada.
“This medal speaks loudly in our hearts and souls,” Lamoureux-Davidson said.
American Hilary Knight opened the scoring but Haley Irwin and Marie-Philip Poulin answered for Canada only for Monique Lamoureux-Morando’s third-period equaliser to set the stage for over-time.
Megan Keller was whistled for an illegal hit on Canada’s Poulin with 95 seconds to play in the extra 20-minute period, but Canada couldn’t net a winner on the power play as the game went to a shootout.
The tension mounted as Gigi Marvin scored for the Americans only to have Canada’s Agosta answer on the next shot. Melodie Daoust put Canada ahead on the fourth round of shots but Amanda Kessel pulled the US level, setting the stage for the dramatic finish. —AFP