Team USA won a thriller against rival Canada to take home gold in women's hockey last night, in a game they spent four years waiting for after a crushing loss to the Canadians in 2014 at Sochi. It was USA's first gold since the inaugural women's event in 1998.
During the first intermission, Hilary Knight—who staked USA to a 1-0 lead in the first period—told NBC, "Obviously, this is the biggest game of our lives," and it's hard to argue with that. It was more than revenge for the Americans, who got so close in Sochi only to see Canada tie it late in the third and win in overtime, though. Knight also stressed before the final that it was important for the game in general:
"We understand what a tangible success does to women’s ice hockey and to other lives," Knight said. "We’re just going to have a greater reach winning a gold medal to impact people’s lives."
They didn't just get tangible success, they got a moment, with an absolutely stunning game-winning goal in the shootout, courtesy of Jocelyne Lamoureux, with goalie Maddie Rooney taking care of the rest:
Both Lamoureux twins have been working on the move Jocelyne busted out here. According to Monique, the move has a name: "Oops I Did It Again." Also of note, Jocelyne used the same move for the second of her two goals in six seconds against Russia earlier in the tournament. For this one, she added an extra deke to go glove side instead of stick, but the move's name is now officially accurate.
Team USA was obviously overwhelmed with emotion and celebrated as you might expect, but Canada…oh, Canada. They were not happy with the outcome. Hockey is serious business in Canada, and everyone was watching this game. Even renowned ice-fucking artiste Scott Moir was on hand, possibly drunk, passing out out drinks, and screaming at the refs from the stands:
That was in the first period on an admittedly light penalty against the Syrup Sisters (is that a thing? Let's make that a thing), but it would only get worse from there. After losing the shootout in the sixth round and watching the Americans celebrate on the ice, Canada had to face the medal presentations. I don't know about you, but it sure seems like Jocelyne Larocque would rather die than be anywhere near a hockey silver medal:
And so ends a wild couple of years for Team USA. Since Sochi, they've won three World Championships—all over Canada—and almost one year ago, the American women had another big win: They won an often contentious labor dispute with USA Hockey, after demanding equal treatment to their male counterparts (who were bounced in the Olympic quarterfinals, btw). Travel accommodations would be on par with the men, ditto insurance. They got a huge bump in their training stipends and their yearly salaries were increased to $70,000, with certain incentives built in that could push it over $100,000. One of those incentives? A gold medal at the Olympics.