By Bill Brophy for WCHA.com
It was the most-hyped game in the history of women's hockey. For once, the hype might have been understated.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the game-winning goal in the sixth round of a shootout and Maddie Rooney, a 20-year-old playing in her first Olympics, calmly stopped one of Canada's all-time best forwards on the next shot to give the United States a 3-2 victory over their long-time rival in a thrilling and nerve-racking gold medal final to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The epic battle on the ice in PyongChang, South Korea Thursday was a matchup of two post-graduate college all-star teams on the 38th anniversary of Team USA's Miracle on Ice win over Russia at the Lake Placid Games. Now USA Hockey has two memorable games to celebrate on Feb. 22.
There were 23 Western Collegiate Hockey Association alumnae or current players competing for the gold medal with the game-winning goal scored by a former North Dakota star and the game-saving stop made by a Minnesota Duluth goaltender who has eligibility remaining in the WCHA. Heck, even a WCHA assistant coach, Peter Elander of Ohio State, got credit for teaching Lamoureux-Davison the triple deke, game-winning shootout move which will go down in Olympic and USA Hockey lore.
The U.S. had 14 former WCHA stars who received gold medals. Hilary Knight, a former Wisconsin all-American, had the first goal of the game for Team USA, tipping in a drive by Minnesota Duluth alum Sidney Morin in the second period. Another former UMD player Haley Irwin tied the game for Canada and then, with the U.S. trailing 2-1 with 6:21 left, Monique Lamoureux-Morando took a stretch pass from Minnesota's Kelly Pannek and scored the game-tying breakaway goal.
After an intense scoreless overtime, the teams went to a winner-take-all, nail-biting shootout. While hockey purists decry the shootout to determine a gold medal, there is no denying it is dramatic. With the shootout tied at 2-2, Lamoureux-Davidson displayed her "Ooops I did it again" move to score a memorable goal and Rooney, who had 29 saves on the night, stopped Canada's Meghan Agosta to give Team USA its first gold medal in 20 years and break Canada's hearts.
"There's not a lot of words that can describe how you feel. It was a great game of hockey," said Laura Schuler, Team Canada's coach and a former UMD assistant. "It's what we expected: back and forth hockey."
"Joy's the only word that comes to mind," said Gigi Marvin, a three-time Olympian from Minnesota and at 30 the oldest American on the team.
Here are a couple recaps of the game:
Columnists chimed in on the overall significance of the game for the sport:
Here is the reaction from Team Canada, which had nine current or former WCHA players take home silver medals:
There were 37 current and former WCHA women athletes who competed in the Winter Games and 30 of them won a medal. Sara Murray, a former Minnesota Duluth player, coached the host country Korea.
Rooney, Pannek, Emily Clark of Canada and Janine Alder of Switzerland all have college eligibility remaining and are expected to return to their teams next season.
Switzerland's Alina Muller was the top scorer in the tournament with 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists) and was named Best Forward by the IIHF Directorate. Jenni Hirikoski of Finland was named Best Defenseman and Canada's Shannon Szabados was named the Best Goalie.
Muller's Swiss teammate Christine Meier had eight points (0-8). Michelle Karvinen (3-3), a North Dakota alum who led Finland to a bronze medal, and former WCHA player of the year and Minnesota Duluth forward Lara Stalder (3 goals, 3 assists) tied for fourth in Olympic scoring with six points.
Lamoureux-Davidson was second in goal scoring in the tournament and had five points (4-1), tied with Team USA's Dani Cameranesi, a Minnesota alum, (3-2) and Finland's Susanna Tapani, a former North Dakota player, (3-2) for eighth place among Olympic scorers.
Team USA's Brianna Decker, a former Patty Kazmaier Award winner from Wisconsin, (0-3), Ohio State alum Minnamai Tuominen of Finland (1-2) and UMD alum Pernilla Winberg of Sweden (2-1) each had three points.
Among other WCHA alumnae in the tournament, Canada's Haley Irwin (2-0) and Team USA's Marvin (2-0), Knight (2-1) and Lamoueux-Morando each scored two goals. while Team Canada's Blayre Turnbull (0-2) and Natalie Spooner (0-2), the United States' Meghan Duggan (0-2) and Morin (0-2) and Sweden's Annie Svedin (1-1) also had two points. Svedin, an Ohio State alum, was the tournament plus-minus leader at plus 8.
Canada's Emily Clark and Sara Nurse, Sweden's Johanna Fallman, USA's Hannah Brandt each scored one goal. Canada's Jocelyn Larocque, Brigette Lacquette and Meghan Mickelson each had an assist. Team USA's goalie Maddie Rooney and Finland's Noora Raty each had three victories in tournament play plus a medal while Switzerland's Janine Alder and Ann Renee Desbiens of Canada posted goaltending shutout victories.
Encouraged by the growth of the game and the competitive games in PyeongChang, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday that the women's ice hockey field will expand to 10 teams at 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China. The story is here:
The list of WCHA alums Olympians who played in the Games is below.
Team USA includes 14 former and current WCHA players. Team Canada includes nine former and current WCHA players while Team Finland has seven, Team Sweden features five WCHA alumnae and Team Switzerland has two.
Here is the breakdown of WCHA players on the rosters.
* -- denotes that player has eligibility remaining
United States, The Gold Medal Winners
Goaltenders (2): Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin; *Maddie Rooney, Minnesota Duluth
Defense (4): Monique Lamoureux-Morando, North Dakota; Gigi Marvin, Minnesota; Lee Stecklein, Minnesota; Sidney Morin, Minnesota Duluth
Forwards (8): Hannah Brandt, Minnesota; Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota; Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota Hilary Knight, Wisconsin; Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, North Dakota; *Kelly Pannek, Minnesota
Canada, The Silver Medal Winners
Goaltender (1): Ann-Renée Desbiens, Wisconsin
Defense (3): Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Jocelyne Larocque, Minnesota Duluth; Meaghan Mikkelson, Wisconsin
Forwards (5): *Emily Clark, Wisconsin; Haley Irwin, Minnesota Duluth; Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin; Natalie Spooner, Ohio State; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin
Finland, The Bronze Medal Winners
Goalie (2): Noora Räty, Minnesota; Eveliina Suonpää, Minnesota Duluth
Defense (1): Mira Jalosuo, Minnesota
Forwards (4): Michelle Karvinen, North Dakota; Susanna Tapani, North Dakota; Emma Nuutinen, North Dakota; Minnamari Tuominen, Ohio State
Defense (3): Johanna Fallman, North Dakota; Emilia Andersson Ramboldt, Minnesota State; Annie Svedin, Ohio State
Forwards (2): Maria Lindh, Minnesota Duluth; Pernilla Winberg, Minnesota Duluth
Goalie (1): *Janine Alder, St. Cloud State
Forwards (1): Lara Stalder, Minnesota Duluth