GANGNEUNG, South Korea- After an absolute nail-biter of a match, which went to overtime and then a penalty shootout, the US has finally broken Canada’s stranglehold on women’s Olympic hockey.
Team USA won the shootout 3-2, with forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scoring the winning goal. The women in blue poured onto the ice after Canada’s Megan Agosta couldn’t reply, handing the Americans the gold.
It was an incredibly close match throughout, with Canada leading 2-1 well into the third period, only for Team USA’s Monique Lamoureux-Morando to pull it back, pushing the game into overtime.
The US Women’s Hockey team hadn’t won gold since the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, so tensions were even higher than usual against their regional rivals.
Canada has won every gold medal since then, and Thursday’s match was the third time the teams had met in an Olympic final.
Ahead of the match, they had already played once in these Olympics. Canada won that preliminary round 2-1 despite being out shot by the Americans 45-23.
Team USA’s win comes after their victory off the ice. After a fight for better pay they scored a contract that rivals that of the men’s national team.
Most of the women on the team said they had to work one or two other jobs in addition to training and competing because they were making so little from being on the national team.
It was a hard won victory, with the athletes boycotting the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship and USA Hockey threatening to bring in scabs.
They drew support from players’ associations for the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB and the NHL, and finally, in March 2017, reached an agreement for parity with the men’s team, though the exact details have not been released.