A recap of the Pyeongchang men's and women's hockey tournaments.
1. Maddie Rooney, G, USA
The 20-year-old had a star-making moment in the women's final, stopping 29 of 31 shots in regulation, plus four of six in the shootout, to propel the U.S to its first gold medal since 1998. In overtime, with Canada on a power play and with the left side of the net seemingly wide open, Rooney made a diving stick save that is sure to become U.S. legend. Rooney joined the U.S. national team in 2017. Naturally, she got the Wikipedia treatment after the game, with a creative internet user changing her job title to "Secretary of Defense."
2. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, F, USA
Lamoureux-Davidson executed the defining offensive moment of the game, a shootout move that kids will surely be practicing in their driveways for years -- a deke to the left with a head pump, an improbable pull back to her forehand, and the slip in. It sealed the win for the U.S. in stylish fashion. What's even better: Her sister and teammate, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, revealed that Jocelyne had been practicing this move with her skills coach for some time, and its name is: "Oops I did it again." (A shout-out to Monique, who scored the equalizer on a breakaway with 6:21 left in the third to send the game to overtime, and was consistently one of the best players on the ice all game.)
3. Shannon Szabados, G, Canada
The United States outshot Canada 41-31 in this game, and the fact that the Canadians held a lead with just over six minutes left in regulation is a testament to Szabados' stellar play. Nine of her 39 saves came in overtime. She withstood tremendous pressure in the third period, including an odd-man rush led by Brianna Decker that Szabados quashed with a poke check. She was named the top goaltender in the tournament.
What's up with the U.S. women's team?
Yes, you'll hear about how this victory came 38 years to the day after the men's famous "Miracle on Ice" win, but this gold medal wasn't improbable -- just sweet as can be. One of the greatest rivalries in sports remains hot after the U.S. dethroned Canada, which had won four consecutive gold medals. "I can't put it into words," defenseman Kacey Bellamy said after the game. "This whole year is for everyone that came before us. This is for Julie Chu [former U.S. team captain] and for all our families at home, the schools that we went to, everyone supporting us."
Indeed, this caps what has been a long journey for the American women, both on and off the ice. Last spring they boycotted the world championships in a battle for equity. In a year when we are talking about women's voices being heard, it's noteworthy that this all happened before Hollywood began its conversation about equal pay. The U.S. women's team will return home as rock stars. Many will return to the NWHL -- the three-year-old pro hockey league with four teams -- next season. What we're sure of: These women will continue to be agents for change, and will continue to inspire future generations.
What's up with the U.S. men's team?
Perhaps coach Tony Granato's tweet late Monday night summed it up best:
I did hate shootouts yesterday, but maybe they are not too bad after all! 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 USA. And I do love our flag!! pic.twitter.com/njqBSA83b4— Coach Tony Granato (@TonyGranato) February 22, 2018
The American men were ousted from the tournament on Wednesday, ending an unlikely bid for a medal (before the tournament, the online sportsbook Bovada set Team USA's odds at 10-1, which put it sixth in the book). After their loss to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, the players have dispersed. Jordan Greenway, for example, is expected to be in the Boston University lineup on Friday night, when the Terriers play Vermont. U.S. captain Brian Gionta will talk to NHL teams about a contract. (Will he have any takers?)
Life moves on, and our focus shifts to 2022. While it was obviously a lesser brand of hockey than we're accustomed to seeing, many hope that NHL players will return for the 2022 Games in Beijing. Though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has remained coy on the topic, it will certainly be an issue in the next collective-bargaining talks, and the players have some leverage to work with: The league has an interest in growing the game in China, and has planned even more preseason games there for next season.
So who is going to win the men's tournament?
The Russians remain the favorites, punctuating that with a 6-1 rout of Norway in the quarterfinals. If you're looking for a Cinderella on the men's side, that would be Germany -- a team that didn't even qualify for the 2014 Games in Sochi but knocked off a medal favorite, Sweden, this time around to punch its ticket to the semis. Here are the updated odds, according to Bovada:
Olympic Athletes of Russia: 2-3
Czech Republic: 7-1
In the next 24 hours
Men's playoff semifinals: Czech Republic vs OAR (Friday, 2:40 a.m. ET); Canada vs. Germany (Friday, 7:10 a.m. ET)