After a long 2 weeks in Beijing, the US’s battle for the gold has come to an end in the way we didn’t want. It is nearing 24 hours since the final buzzer but the string remains fresh. The US lost 3-2 against their main rival Canada in the Gold medal game at the Olympics in Beijing. As it was the GMG, Canada claimed the 2022 Olympic Gold Medal in Women’s Ice Hockey while the US grabbed the Silver. Silver is not a bad thing, they still beat every other team at the Olympics, they just lost 2 of 7 games. Multiple players- namely Hilary Knight– set new records, rookies got a taste of the main stage, and we got some incredible hockey out of it.
The aforementioned Hilary Knight had a great Games, she finished with 10 points (6G 4A) – one of which was the opening goal in yesterday’s Gold medal game. She led the team with those numbers, set the American record for most Olympic games played with 22. She sincerely gave her all throughout every minute out there. The same goes for Amanda Kessel who had 8 points (3G 5A) in 7 games. She scored the US’s second goal last night in the dying seconds of the third period. Alex Carpenter made a triumphant return to Team USA though. She finished up with 7 points (4G 3A) in 7 games. I’ve been keeping an eye on her with the Vanke Rays in Russia/China and she has been relentlessly preparing for these games. It definitely paid off.
Cayla Barnes put up crazy TOI numbers through these 7 games. She also posted 6 points (1G 5A) in that time. Kendall Coyne-Schofield, Kelly Pannek, and Hannah Brandt also had successful returns to the Olympics, all 6 posted 6 points as well.
Savannah Harmon had a phenomenal first Olympics. She is a 26-year-old defender who put up 7 points (2G 5A) in 7 games. She was with Team USA to win Silver at the World Championships this year and she slid in perfectly at the Olympics. Jesse Compher also had a great first Olympics. She’s a 22-year-old forward from BU, she put up 4 points (3G 1A) in 7 games. She played at the last two World Champs with the US team. These two players really jumped out in this tournament. They’re sure to continue on as a big part of Team USA’s future.
I would have liked to see more from Abby Roque, Grace Zumwinkle, and Abbey Murphy. They’re all really talented, young players who just fell a little quiet in these Games. This was all their first Olympics and they all had at least a point. They still played well, I just know they have a little more power and skill than we might have seen.
Alex Cavallini (Rigsby), who was our starter just last night, was playing on a barely recovered MCL. That’s such a serious injury to just come back from and play 4 hockey games with a 1.27 GAA and .923 save percentage, at the Olympics. I can’t believe she did that. Nicole Hensley somehow played just one game but she hosted a shutout. Maddie Rooney played 2 games and finished with a 3.07 GAA and .846 save percentage.
I wish this team could have done it: for Brianna Decker, for Alex Rigsby, and most importantly for themselves. They fought so hard in every game. In the last one, they would build momentum right at the end of the period and then lose it during intermission. Silver is still a great accompaniment. Especially for a team molding around a lot of gaps that have been opened since their 2018 win. I’ll miss these games for the next little while. We’ve been spoiled since early November with so much Team USA vs Team Canada. These girls deserve a break. They just put on an amazing show for all of us over the last two weeks. Not to mention, these games pulled millions of views and opened many eyes to women’s hockey. The future is beaming bring for this sport and every woman playing on the ice last night is a reason why.
Yes, I am still very sad that the US lost last night and I will be bummed about it for a while. However, there is going to be so much good that is going to come out of these games. We saw the first of, hopefully, many Olympic Games for skilled young players on both sides of the border. Marie-Phillip Poulin and Hilary Knight still dominate on the ice every time they touch it. So even though the losing sucks, I’m very happy about the bright future of these teams and this rivalry.
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