U.S. women’s hockey team beats Canada, takes gold in world championships – STLtoday.com
PLYMOUTH, Mich. • The U.S. women’s hockey players threw their sticks and gloves in the air and celebrated, capping an emotionally charged two-week stretch with a 3-2 overtime win over Canada in the women’s world championship final Friday night.
Hilary Knight made the postgame party possible by scoring 10:17 into the extra period to make the Americans winners on and off the ice. After threatening to sit out the tournament, they won a contentious fight with USA Hockey for better wages that will allow the country’s best female hockey players to make a living playing the sport.
“I’m so proud of this team for performing the way we did after battling the way we did off the ice,” said Meghan Duggan, the Americans’ captain. “A lot of history was made.”
The U.S. won its fourth straight world championship title and eighth in the last 10 tries against their rivals, who will get their shot at revenge as defending Olympic champions next year in South Korea.
Brianne Jenner tied it at 2 for Canada midway through the third period on a power play after Kacey Bellamy’s second goal early in the period gave the Americans their first lead in the gold-medal game.
The U.S. had two power plays in the third period with 7:24 and 2:24 left along with another power play early in OT but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities to score a go-ahead goal with an extra skater.
Canada’s Meghan Agosta scored 1:01 into the game, and Bellamy tied it 3 1/2 minutes later.
Nicole Hensley (Lindenwood) stopped 28 shots for the U.S.
Canada’s goaltender, Shannon Szabados, was tested much more and made 37 saves.
“She was unbelievable,” Agosta said. “She kept us in the game.”
The Americans boldly said they would boycott the tournament, which would’ve embarrassed USA Hockey at a tournament held in an arena named after the organization, if they didn’t get more money and perks their male counterparts get such as flying in business class and staying at nice hotels. The landmark deal allows them to make more than $70,000 during non-Olympic years and as much as $129,000 in Olympic years, including 2018, when combined with contributions from the United States Olympic Committee.
“We knew that was going to be a bond that was unbreakable,” Knight said.
USA Hockey looked like it tried to break the unified front of American women, trying to find lower-caliber players to take their spots in the world championship if Plan B became necessary.
“They didn’t want to forgo this opportunity, but they were willing to do it,” Dee Spagnuolo, one of the attorneys who represented the women without a fee, said during the first intermission at USA Hockey Arena. “Every time we huddled up to make tough decisions before and during negotiations, they were united and firm. This team off the ice is so united and in adverse, tense situations in games, it helps them win on the ice, too.”
The U.S. carried the momentum from the win against USA Hockey into the eight-nation tournament by dominating the competition until their rivals pushed them into OT.