Exactly 38 years to the day that the “Miracle on Ice” took place, dynasty and destiny collided as the US women assembled their own miracle. Challenging the four-time defending gold medalist Canadians, the US were not only looking to avenge their round robin loss, one bordering on pugilism, but also seeking redemption for the devastating gold medal game loss at Sochi in 2014.
Instrumental in this golden outcome were Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux. Having long established themselves as the greatest pair of hockey-playing siblings in the world, this dazzling duo have competed in every Winter Games women’s ice hockey tournament this decade. Part of the American rosters that captured four consecutive Gold Medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championships (2013, 2015-2017), such an achievement would not carry much sheen without Winter Games gold in PyeongChang.
Despite a see-saw battle which saw the lead change hands, along with a tense overtime and subsequent nail-biting shootout, it proved to be a fait accompli for the Lamoureux sisters, each leaving their imprint in such a memorable game. With the US outshooting Canada in every period, including double digits (10, 12, 10) in all three of the regulation periods, Hilary Knight would score the game’s first goal with just 25 seconds remaining in the opening period. Having also scored the gold-medal winning goal in overtime of the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships, Knight’s efforts would prove crucial once again.
The second period saw Canada score twice within the first seven minutes as Haley Irwin and Marie-Philip Poulin added their names to the scoresheet. Considering that Poulin had logged the gold medal winning goals at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, it would have been easy to ponder that this goal would be a harbinger of things to follow.
Instead, Poulin’s involvement was part of another significant turning point in the game. Having collided with Brianna Decker, who gained one of the assists on Knight’s goal, it set the tone for a horrific third period for Canada, with their 24-game winning streak in the Winter Games firmly in jeopardy.
With third-generation competitor Laura Stacey (whose uncle Terry Clancy competed for Canada in the 1964 Winter Games) looking to add to Canada’s lead early in the third period, placing a shot in the top left hand corner, a stop by Maddie Rooney was the catalyst towards altering the game’s complexion. With the puck picked off by US blueliner Kelly Pannek, she was able to find an open Monique Lamoureux-Morando. Soaring on a breakaway in which her shot sailed over the glove of goaltender Shannon Szabados, the Canadian lead was quickly erased, along with the hope of becoming the first nation to capture five consecutive gold medals in ice hockey at the Winter Games.
As overtime saw the US pepper Szabados with nine shots, her remarkable efforts essential towards Canada remaining competitive throughout the contest, players from neither team were able to break the 2-2 deadlock. With a shootout required, a first in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Games, the US would take the 1-0 advantage as Gigi Marvin, appearing in her third Winter Games, managed to score on Szabados before a collision with the net.
Meghan Agosta, who was recognized as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, was hoping to add to her haul of three gold medals with another in 2018. Scoring on Maddie Rooney, the Canadian bench erupted in enthusiasm. After a superlative highlight reel goal by Melodie Daoust, Amanda Kessel answered back for the US, accentuating an admirable return to the game after concussion woes nearly shelved her career.
With misses from Canada’s Brianne Jenner along with US star Hilary Knight, Agosta was looking for a chance to bring an end to the dramatic series of events that unfolded. Attempting to score on Maddie Rooney for the second time in the shootout, her efforts yielded a negative result, as she was unable to bury the puck past the five-hole.
Gaining a place in hockey immortality was Lamoureux-Davidson with a goal that shall be remembered as one of the greatest in American hockey history. Faking to the right, proceeding to deke to the left, returning to the right again, the puck slid past the glove of Szabados with inches to spare, gliding past the red line into the net, as the golden dreams of 22 American girls came to fruition.
Dubbing her sensational shootout technique as “Oops, I did it again”, the nomenclature is not as important as the final result, and the promise that an entire generation of girls will attempt to mimic the smooth moves of Lamoureux-Davidson, the way that rabid basketball fans in the 1990s attempted to duplicate Michael Jordan’s layup in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals, switching from right to left in mid-air, affirming his status as the greatest in the game.
Undoubtedly, the 2018 Winter Games served as a similar affirmation for Lamoureux-Davidson, solidifying her brilliant legacy. Earlier in the Games, Lamoureux-Davidson scored a pair of goals in a timespan of merely six seconds, setting a record for the fastest two-goals in Winter Games ice hockey history. Achieving this feat against the Olympic Athletes from Russia, as said goals were recorded at the 31:46 and 31:52 marks of the game, it topped the previous women’s record held by Canada’s Caroline Ouellette, scoring twice in 16 seconds versus host country Italy at Torino 2006, while the men’s record was eight seconds, set by Carl Goran Oberg of Sweden at the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley, California.
Sharing in the glorious feat of achievement with her cherished twin sister Monique, it only extends an amazing yet shared legacy as the greatest sisters in the history of women’s ice hockey, accentuated by rewriting the record books with the University of North Dakota, transforming the program into a perpetual contender. With Angela Ruggiero, a member of the Gold Medal winning team in Nagano on-hand to distribute the gold medals to the jubilant Americans, it was the kind of moment that truly brought the career of the Lamoureux twins full circle. Having called Ruggiero a teammate at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, which was her hockey swan song, the chance to collect gold from such a monumental figure in American hockey helped to bridge generations, while setting the stage to inspire a whole other new generation to lace up their skates.
Photo Credit: NBC Olympics and CTV News