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The 2018 Olympics may be over, but the impact women's hockey had on the world, especially here in the United States will not soon fade.
All six Whitecaps who went to PyeongChang, South Korea, earned medals, as Mira Jalosuo got her first Olympic medal when Team Finland defeated the Olympic Athletes from Russia 3-2 for the bronze, while Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyne, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and Alex Rigby clinched the gold medal from their arch rival, Canada, 3-2 in a dramatic shootout win.
In the Bronze Medal Game, Team Finland built a two-goal lead twice and held off the Russians after a third period power play goal had cut the lead to 3-2. It was Jalosuo's second Olympic Games and first Olympic medal.
The Gold Medal Game captured the hearts and minds of Americans, and raised the international profile of women's hockey. Team USA overcame a 2-1 deficit in the third period to send the game into overtime, before eventually winning the exciting six round shootout. It was the second gold medal win for the U.S. in Olympic history, and it ended a 20-year drought since the program's first gold medal in 1998. Former Whitecaps head coach, Robb Stauber, led Team USA on the bench.
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Hilary Knight in the first period. But it was Canada who stormed back with two goals of their own in the second, taking a 2-1 lead into the third period. With 6:21 remaining in regulation, Kelly Pannek found Lamoureux-Morando all alone at the far blue line as the Canadians were changing, and Monique took advantage of the miscue, burying her shot against goaltender Shannon Szabados on the breakaway. The game would head into a ten minute 4-on-4 overtime.
Although there was plenty of action and some close calls during the OT, including Pannek's shot that rang off the post, neither team was able to score. So, a 5-player shootout ensued.
Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel both scored big goals in the round of five, but Canada had also beaten American goaltender, Maddie Rooney, twice. Heading to extra shooters, the first player up for Round 6 was Team USA's Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson. She electrified the building and the country with her clutch multi-fake move that left Szabados out of position before slipping it in on her forehand. Then it was Rooney, who stood tall and stopped Meghan Agosta on Agosta's second attempt of the shootout (she had scored on the first). Pure joy and extreme celebration followed as Team USA was able to find redemption after the heartbreaking loss in Sochi four years earlier.
Congratulations to all six Whitecaps who brought home Olympic medals. It was the first for Jalosuo, Brandt, and Rigby, second for Coyne, and third for Lamoureux-Davidson and Lamoureux-Morando.