Team USA celebrates a goal during the first period during the women's ice hockey preliminary round match between Team USA and Team Finland on February 3, 2022 in Beijing.
Challenges are expected when competing in the Olympic Games, but a key injury within the first 10 minutes of the opening game was not something the United States women’s ice hockey team anticipated.
Alternate captain Brianna Decker was taken off the ice on a stretcher less than 10 minutes into a 5-2 win against Finland on Thursday. A USA Hockey spokesperson confirmed that Decker will miss the remainder of the tournament.
Monique Lamoureux-Morando, three-time Olympian in ice hockey, is a familiar face to Team USA fans as part of the gold-medal-winning team in 2018. She has since retired from competition and stepped into the role of NBC analyst for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. She spoke to teamusa.org about the challenges ahead for Team USA in the preliminary round.
“Losing Decker 10 minutes into her third Olympics is heartbreaking on so many levels,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “She is one of the best players in the world.”
First-time Olympian Abby Roque immediately moved up the lineup and in the second line’s first shift following the injury, Amanda Kessel scored the opening goal, giving the U.S. roster a sigh of relief.
“She stepped right into that role and seemed to fit in seamlessly with that line,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “Clearly, they have chemistry together and that’s a positive thing to take away from the win against Finland.”
With her her performance in the opening game, Roque became the first Indigenous woman to play Olympic Hockey for the United States.
The trio of Roque, Kessel and Alex Carpenter scored again late in the third period when Roque deftly set up Carpenter for the team’s fifth goal. Carpenter also notched a power-play goal in the opening period.
“Carpenter has something that she wants to prove this Olympics after being cut in 2018,” Lamoureux-Morando said of her 2014 teammate. “For her to come in this first game and score two goals I think will give her a lot of confidence going into the rest of the tournament. Anybody that knows women’s hockey, knows that she is one of the best players in the world.”
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.