GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The scoreboard will inform you that the United States women’s hockey workforce misplaced to Canada 2-1 right here Thursday afternoon, its fifth straight loss in opposition to its bitter rival. But to hear U.S. head coach Robb Stauber after the sport, you maybe would have thought the Americans had gained.
Stauber was downright giddy about the Americans’ efficiency, declaring that they outshot the Canadians 45-23, the third straight sport in these Olympics that the Americans outshot their opponents by practically a 2-1 margin.
“The obvious thing is we had one hell of a performance tonight,” Stauber stated.
Or at the very least that was the message he hoped would permeate by means of his locker room ought to the U.S. face Canada once more, in per week, with Olympic gold on the line. Thursday, the Americans managed possession for a lot of the sport and at occasions dominated Canada, which has now gained 23 straight Olympic matches since dropping to the Americans in the gold-medal sport in 1998.The drawback was placing the puck in the web.
“Anybody who knows hockey knows if you’re going to keep doing that you’re going to get rewarded,” Stauber stated, “and we expect the reward for our effort and being honest and sticking to our game plan. You don’t play the game not to get rewarded for doing the little things right. And we did the little things right.”
But Thursday the rewards did not come. Not in the first interval, when the U.S. caught Canada on a change and Hilary Knight discovered herself one-on-one with Canadian goalie Genevieve Lacasse solely to shoot the puck proper into Lacasse’s chest. Not in the second interval, when Jocelyn Lamourex-Davidson was awarded a penalty shot, went forehand, backhand, forehand, backhand after which watched her shot ricochet off the knob of Lacasse’s stick. Or later in the second when Brianna Decker rifled a slapshot previous Lacasse that ricocheted off the outdoors of the publish. And not in the third interval, when the U.S. was frantically trying to find an equalizer, however hit the crossbar. Or a couple of minutes later when Knight discovered herself alone in entrance of the web and could not get a shot off on a stupendous centering cross.
“I just couldn’t swing and get something on it,” Knight stated. “I’ll have to look at the video.”
When requested after the sport if he was involved about not having the ability to convert so many offensive possibilities, Stauber insisted he wasn’t. Five totally different occasions.
“No, no, nope, nope, no,” he stated. “What else are you going to do? It’s one of the things you can control, your energy and effort and the things you practice. And pucks either end up over the line or they don’t.”
Added Lamourex-Davidson: “We had our opportunities. We have to get our sticks there. We got our bodies there, but we have to get our sticks. There are five or six goals that we have to figure out how to put in the net.”
It was poetic, in a murky form of manner, that the sport ended with a pile of our bodies pushing, shoving, kicking and clawing in entrance of the Canadian aim. It had been a bodily, chippy, laborious-fought sport that will finish with the puck on the ice, simply inches in entrance of the Canadian aim.
But for all the shoves and elbows, the contest was at the similar time a shining showcase for the fantastic thing about the women’s sport performed at the highest stage. Back and forth, up and down, nice passing, laborious hitting, glorious goaltending, busy sticks on protection. Everything everybody would count on from the two finest women’s hockey groups in the world.
Both of Canada’s objectives got here in an eight-minute span in the second interval, Meghan Agosta first taking a cross from Natalie Sponner and flicking a wrister off U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney’s left pad and into the web. Sarah Nurse adopted up that aim with a howitzer to the high shelf, discovering the one nook of web that was uncovered between Rooney’s shoulder, facemask and the publish. Twenty-three seconds into the third Kendal Coyne put the Americans on the board with a laser of her personal, however that is the place the scoring would finish.
The Canadians appeared to take a three-1 lead amid chants of “USA-USA,” however a aim by Haley Irwin was known as again when replay revealed she had kicked the puck into the web along with her skate.
With the victory, Canada wins Group A and advances to Monday’s semifinals together with the U.S., which completed with the second most factors in group play regardless of Thursday’s loss. Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and the Olympic Athletes from Russia will duke it out for the different two semifinal spots.
Most everybody expects a U.S.-Canada last, simply because it has been for 4 of the previous 5 Olympic Games. Amanda Kessel stated after Thursday’s sport that the U.S. did sufficient to at the very least put a little bit of doubt into the minds of the Canadians. Kendall Coyne agreed, suggesting the U.S. would take that sport 10 occasions out of 10. “We just have to find a way,” she stated. “I know it sounds redundant.”
And then there’s their coach, who believes his workforce is on the cusp of a breakout. The query is whether or not or not it’ll are available in the subsequent week.
“I have no doubt our players will be rewarded for their energy and effort,” Stauber stated. “No doubt.”