Gophers Help Team USA Win Gold at the Winter Games
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — On the 38th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, six Gophers helped Team USA win hockey gold medals at the 2018 Olympic inter Games.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson skated slowly back and forth toward the net, showing forehand, then leaning quickly to the left to fake a backhand that pulled Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados out of the crease.
On the sport's biggest stage, against the Americans' greatest rival, with all her teammates leaning eagerly over the boards watching her every move, the three-time Olympian came back to her forehand to finish off a dazzling, triple-deke move by sliding the puck into the net past the outstretched glove of Szabados for the deciding goal in the sixth round of a shootout thriller.
"I knew when that went in that Maddie was going to stop the next one," Lamoureux-Davidson said.
That would be 20-year-old goalie Maddie Rooney, who stuffed the last two Canadian shooters to wrap up a 3-2 victory Thursday that snapped the Americans' 20-year gold medal drought and ended Canada's bid for a fifth straight title in the first shootout in an Olympic women's final.
The Americans piled over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before piling on top of Rooney on the ice — 20 years after their last gold medal in women's hockey and 38 years to the day after the men's famous "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviet team in group play at Lake Placid.
Eight current and former Gopher women's hockey players represented their countries at the games. Six players with Gopher ties are on the 2018 U.S. Women's Olympic Team and two Minnesota alumnae represented Finland.
Senior Kelly Pannek and Gopher alumnae Hannah Brandt ('16), Dani Cameranesi ('17), Amanda Kessel ('16), Gigi Marvin ('09), and Lee Stecklein ('17) won gold with Team USA. Fellow Gopher alumnae Mira Jalosuo and Noora Raty won bronze with their native Finland.
This victory capped a year that started with the Americans threatening a boycott of the world championships to secure more money and the same treatment that USA Hockey gives to the men's team.
"They should make a movie on it," forward Hilary Knight said. "We had all the drama and everything. It's sort of a storybook ending to an incredible series of accomplishments."
Nothing was more incredible than the move by Lamoureux-Davidson, who decided to use the deke called "Oops, I did it again " — something she had practiced uncounted times in practice, skating around tires set up on open ice to mimic defenders.
"I'm just thrilled beyond words," the beaming Lamoureux-Davidson said with a U.S. flag draped around her shoulders and gold hanging on her chest. "I've butchered it a thousand times, just ran into tires, tripped over tires just working on my hands. Just glad it worked out this time."
Her twin, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, said coach Peter Elander, now at Ohio State, had taught the sisters the shootout move when the three were at the University of North Dakota.
"Not everyone can take the pressure like that, and she took it like a champ," she said.
Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout, another nail-biter ending four years after Canada won its fourth-straight gold medal in Sochi after rallying to stun the Americans in overtime.
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 to give the Americans a jolt of energy.
That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a midair pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. And when Morin lost the puck, Daoust grabbed it and passed to Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.
Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation . Knight also had a goal and Rooney was spectacular, making 29 saves for the win. Rooney stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.
Pressure? Rooney's grin was clear to see throughout the shootout.
"Right before she came down, I just looked over at the bench and saw my teammates like pointing at me, just one more," Rooney said. "And to have their support made it a whole lot easier. I just reacted to her, and then everything kind of went into a blur."
It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold away in Sochi. Not only did the Americans end 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 in the tournament a week ago.
"It is everything for our country," U.S. coach Robb Stauber said. "I am just so thankful for the outcome. It was a thrilling final. It was unreal."
Additional information from Gophersports.com.