Olympics: Bulldogs' Rooney backstops U.S. women to shootout win over Canada, first gold since 1998
GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Minnesota Duluth goaltender Maddie Rooney made 29 saves, plus four stops in a shootout as the United States beat Canada 3-2 on Thursday to win their first gold medal in women's Olympic ice hockey since 1998 and snap a streak of four consecutive golds for their arch-rivals.
The U.S. prevailed 3-2 in the shootout after the teams were tied 2-2 after regulation and a 20-minute overtime period.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the winner in the shootout's sixth round and the 20-year-old Rooney followed with a stop of Canada's Meghan Agosta.
It was the perfect jaw-dropping finale to a game that was billed as a grudge match but swiftly developed into a classic for the ages at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
At the same time as dashing Canada's dreams of a fifth straight gold, Lamoureux-Davidson's moment of magic secured the U.S. its first title since 1998 and avenged a heart-breaking and similarly dramatic loss last time out in Sochi.
The two titans of the ice are the only countries to have won gold in women's ice hockey since it made its Olympic debut 20 years ago in Nagano.
After a see-saw clash in regulation, the sides entered overtime locked at 2-2 but could not be separated.
It was just as tight in the shootout up until sudden-death when U.S. coach Robb Stauber, a Duluth native, tapped Lamoureux-Davidson to take the next U.S. shot.
She weaved in on two-time gold medal winner Shannon Szabados, moved to her left with a backhand that drew the Canadian goaltender toward her and then pulled the puck to her forehand and slid it in behind her.
"I've done that thousands of times around tires just set out on open ice," Lamoureux-Davidson said. "It's called 'Oops, I did it again,' and I'm just thrilled beyond words.
"I've butchered it a thousand times, ran into tires, tripped over tires just working on my hands. Just glad it worked out this time," the 28-year-old said.
With the medal now on the line, the Canadians sent veteran Agosta out for a second shot, having notched her first attempt moments earlier.
The 31-year-old's plan had been to set up Rooney with a move that would allow her to score through her legs, but Rooney didn't bite, her save sealing a magnificent win for the Americans.
Within seconds she was at the bottom of a pile of blue-jerseys as her screaming and delirious American team mates celebrated their victory.
"Before she (Agosta) came down, I just looked over at the bench and saw my teammates like pointing at me, just one more and to have their support made it a whole lot easier," Rooney said. "I just reacted to her and everything kind of went into a blur."
As exhilarating and redeeming a victory it was for the Americans, it was devastating for four-time gold medal winners Canada. In Sochi four years ago, it was they who spoiled the Americans' late lead and snatched the win in overtime.
"I don't think we had any regrets, but this medal really hurt," said Canadian forward Melodie Daoust, pointing at the silver medal hanging around her neck as she spoke to reporters.
"And we're going to have to move forward from now, but it's painful."
Former UMD defenseman Sidney Morin set up Hilary Knight in the first period to put Team USA up 1-0. Haley Irwin, another former Bulldog, tied the game at 1-1 in the second.
Lamoureux-Davidson's twin sister, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, tied the game at 2-2 with 6:21 to play in regulation after Canada took a 2-1 lead into the third.
The News Tribune contributed to this report.