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Gold at last: U.S. women beat rival Canada in epic shootout

Gold at last: U.S. women beat rival Canada in epic shootout

For the first time since 1998, the United States won the women's hockey gold medal.

The United States erased the horrors of past Olympics with a 3-2 shootout win against Canada to capture the women's hockey gold medal.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson pulled off an incredible deke in the sixth round, while Maddie Rooney closed the door on Meghan Agosta as the U.S. won gold for the first time since the ’98 Nagano Games.

"I can’t think about anything except pure pride, excitement, and honour for our team," winning captain Meghan Duggan told the IIHF. "A lot of us have wanted this since we saw the 1998 team win 20 years ago. To have this experience together, to represent our country is the greatest honor in the world. It’s one of the greatest days of all of our lives."

The Americans needed a goal in the fourth inning as Melodie Daoust lit the lamp for Canada, but Amanda Kessel answered. The sister of two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Shannon Szabados to keep the dream alive for the U.S.

"Our entire team battled through a lot,” Kessel said after the historic victory. “You can't see it on the outside, but the heart that every single girl has on this team, I knew we had it within us to win."

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Trailing 2-1 in the third period, Monique Lamoureux-Morando converted a breakaway to knot the score 2-2 to force the 20-minute overtime period that preceded the prolonged shootout. Kelly Pannek took advantage of a poor Canadian line change and found No. 7 waiting at the opposition’s blue line.

The U.S. first got on the board when Hilary Knight scored her second goal of the tournament at 19:35 of the first period. Knight redirected Sidney Morin’s shot to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead on its third power play of the first 20 minutes.

"I wouldn't take away my experience from the last two silver medals,” Knight said. “Obviously losing isn't a great feeling, but it's just something so special about this group and to be able to win a gold at the end of this tournament is incredible."

Haley Irwin batted a puck out of midair to tie the game at one, two minutes into the middle frame. Blayre Turnbull sent a fluttering puck toward the net, and a crashing Irwin was able to tip it just enough to get past Rooney.

Canada’s captain Marie-Philip Poulin gave her team a 2-1 lead when her wrist shot found twine at 6:55 of the second period. Meghan Agosta found Poulin in the slot, allowing the captain to tally her fifth overall goal in three Olympic gold-medal game appearances. 

The 2018 team openly spoke about how the members of the ’98 squad fueled their desire to win a gold medal. Now, there is another moment in U.S. women’s hockey history to motivate the next group of players.

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"It gives me the chills," Kendall Coyne told the IIHF. "It’s unbelievable. A lot of us are here because of the ‘98 team. We were inspired by their victory. So hopefully there’s a ton of girls that pick up hockey in the United States and all over the world. This was a tremendous win, and the future generations are really going to soar from it as well."

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