After a close game with Finland on Sunday, the women’s team took on the Olympic Athletes from Russia. It was clear that the confidence that grew as their game against Finland went on had carried over into Tuesday’s game.
The game began with some north and south action and little else in the opening couple of minutes. A mid-ice collision between Amanda Pelkey and one of the Russians resulted in her on the ice moving slowly and struggling on all fours. The trainer went out to her, and eventually she did get up and went to the bench. She continued to play.
There was only one good chance for Team USA from Hilary Knight in the first 7:30 on ice, which had seen only three shots on either goal; two for the US and one for the OAR. However, once Kacey Bellamy scored from the right circle, off a pass from Jocelyne Lamoureaux-Davidson about 30 seconds later, the Americans got a burst of momentum, and in the next four minutes had put the puck on OAR’s Valeria Tarakanova three more times while denying the Russians any return opportunities.
With 6:19 remaining in the opening period, Northeastern University alum, Kendall Coyne, was whistled for a hold. However, it appeared that after being held, Lyudmila Belyakova had a problem with her right leg. She was seen being tended to by the trainer on the bench. She continued to play throughout the remainder of the game, though the trainer did appear to be discussing it with her at a later point in the game.
Team USA was strong on the penalty kill and soon Coyne was out of the box and the Americans were at full strength.
When the horn sounded the end of the period, the score was 1-0 in favor of the USA, and the shots on goal were 7-2 also in the Americans’ favor.
During the second period, USA’s Nicole Hensley denied an excellent opportunity from Russia’s Diana Kanayeva, who inexplicably was given a lot of time and space to get the shot off. Later Monique Lamoureaux-Morando tried a behind the back pass that connected with a Russian stick, and back the puck went toward Hensley. Fortunately, the USA had layers back who kept any shots being made on Hensley.
The U.S. would get a power play, when Nina Pirogova was whistled for a cross-checking at 7:32 of the second, which the Russians would kill. Four and a quarter minutes later Lamoureau-Morando would redeem herself for her earlier giveaway when she put the United States up 2-0. And six seconds later, she would get her second goal of the game, making a nice fake that froze Tarakanova on her belly allowing Lamoureau-Morando to lift it up and over blocker side. At that point it seemed like the Americans knew they were in complete control of the game and were deteremined to keep going. Ninety seconds later it was 4-0 and the end of Tarakanova’s time between the pipes. Back up Nadezhda Morozova would step in for the Russians.
It may have been the frustration of the score, but the Russians were either getting caught taking penalties or were simply losing some of their discipline. Maria Batalova got a slashing penalty with just under five minutes remaining in the period. Team USA was unable to capitalize. A few minutes later Batalova found herself back in the sin bin, this time for a high stick, with 1:16 remaining in the period.
As the horn sounded the end of the period, the United States was still on the power play, not having been able to score. However, the score and the shots on goal for the period showed how they dominated the Russians. The shots in the second were 24-7 USA, for a two-period total of 31-7.
As the third period began, once again USA was not able to capitalize on the power play; something that could hurt them as the Olympic games continue. However, their domination of the game, in general, continued. It looked like they had a fifth goal, from Hannah Brandt, but upon review, it went in off her glove and was ruled a hand pass. That didn’t slow down the Americans, who continued their firing assault on Morozova, who saw an additional 19 shots in the period—the first 12 coming before the halfway mark of the final frame.
As the clock ticked under two minutes remaining in regulation, the United States put one last puck in. This goal would count. Megan Keller made a nice pass to Dani Cameranesi, who, despite going down on the ice at the time, shot it on the stick of Brandt. It seemed only fitting that Brandt got the goal, since it was her earlier one in the period that was taken away.