Winter Olympics: US women’s hockey team pull off new ′Miracle on Ice′ | More sports | DW | 22.02.2018
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Winter Olympics: US women’s hockey team pull off new 'Miracle on Ice'

Not since 1998 had the US beaten Canada at the Olympics and the favorites seemed set for a routine, fifth-straight women’s hockey gold. Then the final took a late, unprecedented twist.

Team USA ended their 20-year wait for a gold medal in women's ice hockey with a dramatic victory over arch-rivals Canada on Thursday. 

After finishing 2-2 at the end of sudden-death overtime, the game headed into a first-ever shootout in the women's final. There was still no winner following the regulation penalties and the US held their nerve in the tiebreak to seal a 3-2 shootout victory.

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Maddie Rooney of the U.S. makes a save against Natalie Spooner of Canada

Maddie Rooney of the US makes a save against Natalie Spooner of Canada

There were scenes of mass celebration on the ice after Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout and then US goaltender Maddie Rooney denied Meghan Agosta's attempted equalizer.

The Canadians came into the final on the back of 24 consecutive Olympic victories. With six minutes remaining in regulation time, they led 2-1 and were on course for a fifth-straight Olympic gold. But Monique Lamoreux-Morando popped up with a deserved equalizer to send the game into OT.

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Despite some intense pressure by the US, there was no winner and gold would be decided by the unprecedented shootout. US coach Robb Stauber had made a brave call to start 20-year-old Rooney in goal and his decision was vindicated when she pulled off the save that gave the US their first gold since the inaugural event in 1998.

Read more: Opinion: German hockey team's strong Olympics comes as no big surprise

"I can't put it into words," defenseman Kacey Bellamy said. "This whole year is for everyone that came before us. This is for [former US captain] Julie Chu and for all our families at home, the schools that we went to, everyone supporting us."

The Canadians for their part wept on the ice as they accepted their silver medals. Jocelyne Larocque took her medal off immediately as she watched the US players receive their golds. "It's just so hard," Larocque said. "We wanted gold but didn't get it."

The historic victory was all the more sweeter for the US, coming as it did 38 years to the day since the men's team, made up of college players, upset the USSR 4-3 in the medal round at Lake Pacid in what became known as the "Mirace on Ice." The result prevented the USSR from winning a fifth straight Olympic gold medal, while the United States went on to win gold by beating Finland in the final match of the tournament.  

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