The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics has its signature hockey moment.
A championship final had never gone to a shootout before in Olympic women’s hockey and at 2:12 a.m. this morning in the Eastern time zone, Jocelyne Lamoureux made a series of unreal shakes and moves on her successful championship-winning shootout attempt that will now be imitated by a generation of hockey-playing boys and girls from Grand Bend to Grand Forks. Moments later, 20-year old American goalie Maddie Rooney coolly made a pad save on veteran Canadian forward Meghan Agosta, a Vancouver police constable who had scored four rounds earlier in the shootout. Finally, for the first time since the inaugural Olympic women’s tournament in 1998, the U.S. captured Olympic hockey gold.
For Canada, gunning for a fifth straight gold in women’s hockey, there was only bitter disappointment in losing 3-2 to their eternal rival and settling for silver. After 80 minutes of tied hockey, the best-of-five shootout round was also a tie, 2-2, including slick goals from Agosta on her first attempt and the Best Kessel. That set up the sudden-death sixth round dramatics by Lamoureux.
History will remember the 2018 gold medal game for Rooney, Monique Lamoureux and especially her twin sister Jocelyne.
- Rooney, outduelling her counterpart, experienced Canadian netminder Shannon Szabados
- Monique Lamoureux, scoring a game-tying breakaway goal with under 6 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation
- Jocelyne Lamoureux, giving the world her new signature “Oops!… I did it again” move
And modern technology being what it is, within hours, JLamoureux’s goal was appropriately overlaid with Britney’s song.
When you watch the replay carefully, you have to admit that the back-kick by her left leg and the hard dip of her right shoulder resembles the Britney step and shoulder-shake.
A little bit.
Seriously, what a sequence of moves by JLamoureux. It wasn’t the initial fake that fooled Szabados. But when Szabados bought the backhand and moved to her right, it was game over.
Look, we all know shootouts are a horrific way to settle a championship final game, especially when the two combatants are as evenly-matched as Canada and the U.S. But this morning, any Canadian fan who cries on the internet about this U.S victory being invalid because it occurred in a shootout is the definition of a sore loser. Speaking of the internet, there was a solid Reddit thread after the game.
The U.S won fair and square according to IIHF championship game format rules. Maybe one day we’ll see endless OT periods but as for today, the U.S. won and Canada lost. Period. End of story.
Full marks also to the American women for their persistence and perseverance. Despite a 2-1 round robin loss to Canada last week, their were large stretches where the U.S. thoroughly dominated. Last night, the U.S. outshot Canada in all four periods and 42-31 overall. The Americans also earned the first four power plays of the game and Hilary Knight opened the scoring with a PP goal in the first. Canada came back with two quick goals in the second: the first, a tip-in by Haley Irwin, the second, a well-placed shot by who else? Captain clutch Marie-Philip Poulin.
By the way, for insightful analysis and strategy observations of the game from last night, go back and search Pensblog DX Traeger‘s Twitter feed. He prophetically noted the Lamoureux sisters were correctly reading the Canadian defense.
Moments later, with the pressure on late in the third, Monique Lamoureux got behind Canadian forward Laura Stacey, took a pass from Kelly Pannek and scored on a breakaway to tie the game 2-2.
Further to the Americans earning every ounce of their gold medals: Poulin levelled Brianna Decker in front of the net with a right shoulder to the facemask early in the third that sent Decker to the bench momentarily for assessment. That type of hit normally results in a major penalty if not a misconduct in international play but no call was made. Decker later returned and ended up leading all American forwards in ice time in overtime.
With under 90 seconds to go in that overtime, Megan Keller and Poulin went hard for a puck near the half-boards in the American zone and collided. Keller was assessed a dubious illegal hit penalty but the U.S. played on and weathered the storm including a near-miss by Canada that for a split-second looked like the puck was about to go behind Rooney.
But it didn’t. And maybe eight, twelve or sixteen years from now, an American player will gush about how they got into hockey because they stayed up late and watched Jocelyne Lamoureux deke and shoulder dip and score, planting the seeds of Olympic dreams and gold medal possibilities.