By @MichaelCaples –
PLYMOUTH – When they needed it most, their star delivered.
Hilary Knight. Overtime game-winner. Gold.
The U.S. Women’s National Team’s No. 21 blocked a shot, then headed up the ice with her teammates. She got the puck back and she sent a shot past goaltender Shannon Szabados to break the tie between Team USA and their rivals from Canada after 70:17 worth of hockey.
And with it, she secured another gold medal for Team USA in the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship – an emotional victory that capped a wild month for the U.S. Women’s National Team and USA Hockey.
“The negotiation process took a toll and our camp was shorter, but we knew it was going to be a bond that was unbreakable,” Knight said after the game, with a gold medal around her neck. “We set a historic landmark for the next generation, and to build off that and come in with that momentum and then make another historic landmark for ourselves, winning another championship on home soil.”
Team USA has now won four straight Women’s Worlds tournaments, this time successfully defending their crown on home ice at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
Head coach Robb Stauber said the game-winning goal was a fitting end to the tournament after the hard work and dedication displayed by his squad over the past week.
“It’s indicative of our team the entire tournament,” Stauber said. “We had a five-on-three penalty kill against Finland and we did the same thing, it just happened to be Kendall Coyne blocking shots. Our message has been very clear the entire tournament; we don’t care who scores, but we did say, trust me, we remember who blocks shots. She’s rewarded for doing that, but it was across the board, the effort that this team gave from Day 1, right through the overtime tonight.
“It was a very special effort, and I’m kind of joking when I say that I don’t know what a fan paid for a ticket tonight, but they should have doubled it, because that was a good hockey game.”
A total of 3,917 fans were in attendance at USA Hockey Arena Friday night; seating capacity for the arena is 3,504, which meant people packed into the building with standing room-only tickets.
The U.S. women finish with a perfect 5-0-0-0 record at the tournament; Team USA out-scored their opponents 28-5.
Best Goaltender Noora Raty, Finland
Best Defense Jenni Hiirikoski, Finland
Best Forward Brianna Decker, USA
Media All-Star Team
Goaltender Noora Raty, Finland
Defense Jenni Hiirikoski, Finland
Defense Monique Lamoureux, USA
Forward Marie-Philip Poulin, Canada
Forward Brianna Decker, USA
Forward Kendall Coyne, USA
MVP Brianna Decker, USA
Stay tuned for more from USA Hockey Arena…