OOOOH, MAMA DON’T YOU CRY. USA HOCKEY IS DO OR DIE!
The US opened the Olympics by demolishing the Finnish national team in a 5-2 game early this morning.
The US came right out of the gate with something to play for. Brianna Decker, one of the best Americans to ever play for Team USA, had to be helped off the ice midway through the first. Decker is hands down one of my favorite players on this team and to see her go out like this in the first period of the first game is so painful. Moments after play resumed, it was Amanda Kessel who got the US going with a beautiful goal. Alex Carpenter quickly followed in her footsteps and added to this lead to make things 2-0. They kept that lead through the end of the first.
This US team seemed to boost the jets to 11 going into the second though. Kendall Coyne Schofield, a local hero to me, zipped in 2 goals that period, just about a minute apart, 5 minutes through. Kendall is captaining this team year and she’s out here early showing exactly why. This team needed an extra boost of hope and she supplied just that. The US outshot Finland 19-2 in that second period alone and took a 4-0 lead into the final frame.
The Finns came back with some vengeance for the third. Susanna Tapani broke Maddie Rooney‘s shutout 3 minutes into the period. Alex Carpenter answered right back with her second goal of the game, adding to the US’s lead with just 12 to go in the game. The Finn’s did get another off Rooney, it was originally a no-goal but got reviewed and called fair with just 3 to go in the game. The US ended this one with a solid 5-2 final, here are all the highlights for you:
I love this team but holy shit am I heartbroken about Decker. She’s been working so hard with this team, preparing for years, building her leadership skill with them – for it to get harshly hindered just 10 minutes in. She’ll definitely stick around and be a big part of this team off the ice but I would have loved to see her out there for another series. Although her loss is massive, I’m not overly worried about it affecting the team in an overly negative way. This US team is used to adversity and setbacks yet they find a way to persist. Like I said, I’ll miss her massively but she will for sure stick around and continue to be a leader with this team, that’s just who she is as a person and teammate.
This US team doesn’t play again until the 5th when they take on ROC – basically Russia. The last time these two played was in August in a pre-tournament game at the Women’s Worlds and the US absolutely shitkicked them 6-0. They’ll need to do it again and I am sure they will. They do have to turn around and play the Swiss the next morning at 7:10 AM CT. I will be ice fishing at that time but you bet your ass I’ll be in my little pup tent watching the game. This first win was great for the US – despite Decker’s injury. A good first game is always crucial, especially in the Olympics. I’m excited to see this team swing back into action, it’s been far too long.
As always, I’ll leave you with this:
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Featured Image: IIHF's Website