GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — The Americans’ gold medal drought in women’s hockey – finally – is over.
Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women’s final to do it.
Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada’s streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.
Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation . Hilary Knight also had a goal.
Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.
It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.
Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians’ stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.
Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.
The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.
Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It’s a streak of success in a women’s team sport second only to the United States’ basketball team’s current streak of six straight gold.
This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.
U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.
Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn’t use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.
Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados’ pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.
That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney’s left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.
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