GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- The U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team defeated Olympic Athletes from Russia Tuesday night, scoring four unanswered goals in the first two periods and ending the game 5-0. Team USA also secured its spot in the semifinals with wins in its first two group play games.
The game began in dicey fashion. The U.S. took several shots on goal in the opening minutes, but the action came to a quick stop when forward Amanda Pelkey fell to the ice after a hard collision with an opponent. After Pelkey returned to the bench, play quickly resumed. Less than 90 seconds later, Hilary Knight attempted to tip in a shot on goal, but OAR goalie Valerie Tarakanova kept the puck out of the net using her right leg.
The save did little to deter the U.S. At 8:02, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson sent the puck to defender Kacey Bellamy, who whipped a quick shot from the right circle to score, putting the U.S. on the board. The Americans would stay 1-0 for the rest of the period, killing a penalty for holding and heading into intermission with 7 shots on goal.
Despite the teams attempting 14 more shots on goal, strong goaltending from both teams kept the score at a standstill until just over halfway through the second period. At 8:14, Lamoureux-Davidson scored off a pass from her sister, Monique Lamoureux-Morando. Before the announcer could even finish calling her goal, she had scored again.
A turnover from an Olympic Athlete from Russia in her own defensive zone gave Lamoureux-Davidson a breakaway. Faking right, she shot left over the goaltender’s stick, scoring a second goal a mere six seconds after her first - an Olympic record across both men’s and women’s ice hockey.
“They told me that it was a record and I had no idea. But I guess whenever you’re able to score two quick ones - whether it’s one player or back to back shifts from a different line - it just adds to the momentum of the game,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We felt like it opened up after that, so I’m just happy I could contribute.”
Up 3-0, Team USA still wasn’t satisfied. Less than three minutes later, Gigi Marvin scored, prompting Olympic Athletes from Russia to switch goaltenders. The new goalie, Nadezhda Morozova, kept the scoresheet clean for the rest of the period, which ended with 24 shots on goal for the U.S. and just 7 for Olympic Athletes from Russia.
The offensive onslaught would continue in period three, where the U.S. had 19 shots on goal. Ten minutes in came an eventful scoring chance for the U.S. when Hannah Brandt took a shot on goal. Morozova redirected the shot with her glove, but couldn’t get it under control as it flew over her shoulder. Brandt tried to follow-through and knock the puck in with the shaft of her stick, but the attempt was ultimately ruled a hand pass.
“I guess that’s the way things go sometimes - it’s not always going to go your way,” Brandt said after the game. “So we just kept battling.”
The persistence paid off. With just under two minutes left in the game, defender Megan Keller passed from the defensive zone up to the blue line, where Dani Cameranesi brought the puck into the offensive zone. Cameranesi tripped while swerving around a defender, but still managed to direct the puck to Brandt, who got her shot at redemption. Brandt didn’t miss the opportunity, scoring the final goal of the game as the clock ticked down.
The final score of 5-0 had Team USA fans on their feet in the arena, but the team isn’t looking to rest on its success. After all, a 5-0 victory and a new Olympic record may make for one good victory for Lamoureux-Davidson and her teammates, but perhaps coach Robb Stauber said it best: “I’m sure there’s something that she wants a lot more than that.”