Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s dazzling shootout winner and Maddie Rooney’s save on Meghan Agosta to clinch the victory have become part of our sporting lore. But in this top-10 chronological countdown, let’s celebrate some of the sudden-death and shootout heroines who emerged prior to PyeongChang.
And if it seems like many of these results are recent, that should be no surprise with the increasing parity in women’s hockey. What will the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship final in Espoo, Finland bring? We can’t wait to find out.
1) Hats Off to Nancy
Canada 4, U.S. 3
Women’s Worlds: Kitchener, Ontario
6 April 1997
If you’re going to score a hat trick, there’s no better time to complete it than in overtime in the gold medal game. Shaking off a tough hit from veteran U.S. defender Vicki Movsessian minutes earlier, Nancy Drolet converted the rebound from Hayley Wickenheiser’s shot at 12:59 to the delight of the partisan Kitchener crowd. The 23-year-old forward from Drummondville, Quebec was over the moon as the Canadians won their fourth straight Women’s Worlds.
2) It’s Deja Vu for Drolet
Canada 3, U.S 2
Women’s Worlds: Mississauga, Ontario
9 April 2000
Nancy Drolet carried her tradition of potting big goals into the 2000’s. It was an uphill battle as the host nation had to rally with the Americans leading 2-0 to start the third period. Jayna Hefford, who would get Canada’s golden goal two years later at the Salt Lake City Olympics, tallied twice in regulation to knot the score.
Then at 6:10 of overtime, Drolet fired a slap shot that hit U.S. goalie Sara de Costa in the shoulder, and the puck rolled over the goal line. Canada’s string of world titles remained unbroken – this was the sixth in a row in the early years of the great North American rivalry. “When the game went into overtime, there was no doubt in our minds that we were going to get the gold,” Drolet said.
3) Ruggiero Shoots Canada Down
U.S. 1, Canada 0
Women’s Worlds: Linkoping, Sweden
9 April 2005
Recently, Linkoping HC has welcomed top women’s talents from Swiss goalie Florence Schelling to Canadian forward Jennifer Wakefield. But this southern Swedish city will always hold a special place in American hockey history, because it’s where the U.S. finally ended Canada’s stranglehold on Women’s Worlds gold. The hard-fought final was scoreless through overtime, and blueliner Angela Ruggiero was credited with the shootout winner, with Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell also scoring for the Americans.
“My brother had told me, ‘French Canadian goalies are going to go down and cover the bottom of the net – you have to go upstairs,’ and I remember thinking it was Kim St-Pierre in the net, so I have to go upstairs one way or the other,” Ruggiero recalled. “I deked to the blocker side on my forehand, pulled it to my backhand and roofed it over St-Pierre’s glove.”
This remains the only Women’s Worlds gold medal game decided in a shootout. It bolstered Ruggiero’s long-term reputation, as she became both an IIHF and Hockey Hall of Famer and the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. After the 2018 Olympic gold medal game in PyeongChang, U.S. forward Amanda Pelkey said: “The fact that it was Angela Ruggiero that gave us our medals, that’s like legendary. She is and will always be a legend. She is one of the biggest advocates of our sport, our women’s program, and USA Hockey in general.”
4) The Swedish “Mirakel”
Sweden 3, U.S. 2
Olympics: Turin, Italy
17 February 2006
There’s never been a bigger upset in Olympic women’s hockey history than this semi-final clash. It was expected to be a formality, enabling the Americans to move on to a third straight gold medal game against Canada. Instead, the Damkronorna stunned the hockey world with their shootout prowess.
Outshooting Sweden comfortably, the U.S. was up 2-0 early in the second period on a pair of power play goals by Kristin King and Kelly Stephens. But Swedish veteran Maria Rooth struck back with two of her own before the midway mark – the 2-2 goal came shorthanded on a bad U.S. turnover. Something unusual was in the air.
There was panic in the Americans’ game as they failed to cash in with an extended second-period 5-on-3 advantage, gave the Swedes a 5-on-3 to end regulation, and then couldn’t capitalize with Danijela Rundqvist in the box to end the 10-minute overtime.
In the shootout, 19-year-old Swedish goalie Kim Martin was perfect and Pernilla Winberg was credited with the winner as Rooth also scored. After the wild celebration, Martin revealed that she’d seen the Kurt Russell movie Miracle (about the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. team) a whopping six times. The U.S. had never lost to a team other than Canada in IIHF play before. The Swedes would take silver after a 4-1 final loss to Canada.
5) Yes We Karoliina!
Finland 3, Sweden 2
Olympics: Vancouver, Canada
25 February 2010
The most-publicized overtime winner at the 2010 Olympics was Sidney Crosby’s golden goal against the United States. However, Finland’s Karoliina Rantamaki also stepped up with her bronze medal-winning goal against Nordic rival Sweden.
It wasn’t a work of art. Rantamaki attempted to find Sara Tuominen by the far post of Swedish netminder Sara Grahn’s net, but Erika Holst, a driving force in the Damkronorna’s 2006 silver medal run, accidentally tipped the puck into her own net at 2:33.
Regardless, it was an important victory for Finland, which hadn’t medaled at the Olympics since taking bronze at the inaugural tournament in Nagano in 1998. “We were a little nervous in the beginning, and it's hard to play your best game when you're nervous,” said Finnish goalie Noora Raty, who made 16 saves. “We're happy to win, though.”
Rantamaki, who played a record-setting 27 Olympic games, would repeat her bronze OT heroics at the 2011 Women’s Worlds when Finland beat Russia 3-2. The eight-time Finnish Naisten Liiga goal-scoring leader still loves the game today: at age 40, she recently completed her tenth straight season with Russia’s SKIF Nizhny Novgorod.
6) Knight Rides to the Rescue
U.S. 3, Canada 2
Women’s Worlds: Zurich, Switzerland
25 April 2011
Every Canada-U.S. final this decade has been a classic. This one was a goaltending duel par excellence. Canada fired 53 shots at the U.S.'s Jessie Vetter, and the Americans had 50 shots on Canada’s Shannon Szabados. But it was Hilary Knight, then an assistant captain with the NCAA champion University of Wisconsin Badgers, who sealed the deal for America at 7:48 of OT during a goalmouth scramble.
“The puck came across the crease just behind the goal line and I put it into the net,” Knight told IIHF.com. “It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe when you score such a goal. It was a bit of a gift at the right time.” Knight, 21, capped off her most productive Women’s Worlds ever in style. Although her legend has grown in the years since, her 14 points in Zurich remains a personal high.
7) Sweet Caroline
Canada 5, U.S. 4
Women’s Worlds: Burlington, Vermont
14 April 2012
After Canada’s heartbreaking loss in 2011, Caroline Ouellette gave her team sweet revenge on its archrival’s home ice. In front of 4,000 spectators at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse, the Canadians led 3-1 midway, but the U.S. roared back to make it 4-3 early in the third period. Ouellette assisted on Meghan Agosta’s tying goal with just 2:38 left in regulation.
Agosta returned the favor in overtime when the Americans had a bad line change. She fed the puck to Ouellette on the rush, and the French-Canadian veteran beat U.S. goalie Molly Schaus at 1:50. With her second goal of the game, Ouellette earned her sixth Women’s Worlds gold medal. That ended a streak of three straight tournament titles for the Americans.
“We were really sick of silver,” said Ouellette. “They have an amazing team, and it’s who is going to be better on any given day. Tonight we wanted to make sure that it was us.”
8) Queen of the Comeback
Canada 3, U.S. 2
Olympics: Sochi, Russia
20 February 2014
As the first Olympic women’s final ever decided in OT, the Sochi showdown between the North American foes will always loom large. In fact, it’s remembered as the single most dramatic hockey game – women’s or men’s – of the entire Olympics.
The Americans led 2-0 late in the third period on goals by captain Meghan Duggan and Alex Carpenter, and appeared poised to capture their first Olympic gold since 1998. Yet when Brianne Jenner scored at 16:34, the mood in the Bolshoy Ice Dome shift. Showing the clutch instincts that enabled her to notch both Canadian goals in the 2010 Olympic final, Marie-Philip Poulin tied it up with just 55 seconds remaining, converting a feed from Rebecca Johnston.
But the best was yet to come for “Pou.” With U.S. stars Jocelyne Lamoureux and Hilary Knight in the box, Canada cashed in on its 5-on-3. Poulin played catch with star defender Laura Fortino before beating Jessie Vetter from the left faceoff circle at 68:10. The legendary comeback gave Canada its fourth straight Olympic gold medal.
Even though Canada’s streak ended in PyeongChang, Poulin scored again in the 2018 final, making her the only female star with goals in three consecutive Olympic finals.
9) If I Were A Carpenter
U.S. 1, Canada 0
Women’s Worlds: Kamloops, Canada
4 April 2016
The hockey world was stunned when Alex Carpenter wasn’t named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic team. The 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner from Boston College had clearly shown she knows how to deliver in do-or-die situations.
When Carpenter banged the puck past Canadian netminder Emerance Maschmeyer in a goalmouth scramble at 12:30, it silenced the pro-Canada crowd of 5,850 fans at a sold-out Sandman Centre.
“It’s always exciting to win a World Championship, but to win it against your archrivals in their building just makes it that much sweeter,” said U.S. captain Meghan Duggan.
10) The Knight Stuff
U.S. 3, Canada 2
Women’s Worlds: Plymouth, Michigan
7 April 2017
Heading into the 2017 tournament at the USA Hockey Arena, Hilary Knight had been named the Women’s Worlds MVP and Best Forward and a tournament all-star two years in a row. What could the world’s top power forward do for an encore?
Oh, just score the overtime winner. After Canada’s Meghan Agosta and Brianne Jenner both scored to counter Kacey Bellamy’s pair for the Americans in regulation time, Knight rose to the occasion. Racing down on a 3-on-2 rush, she took a feed from speedy linemate Kendall Coyne in the left faceoff circle and snapped it past Canada’s Shannon Szabados at 10:17. The celebrations were on as the hosts skated off with their fourth consecutive Women’s Worlds title.
“The last time we played at home we lost to them in Vermont [in 2012], and we didn’t want that feeling again,” said Bellamy. “The support we’ve had the last few weeks has been incredible, so we wanted to win this for the fans.”