USA TODAY Sports’ A.J. Perez explains the four-year deal that averts a boycott by the U.S. women’s hockey national team for the IIHF World Championships.
USA TODAY Sports
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — U.S. women’s hockey players took home both the money and the gold from the IIHF World Championships on Friday.
Ten days after agreeing to a new four-year contract that will allow American women to stay in the sport longer, Hilary Knight scored at 10:17 of overtime to give the Americans a 3-2 win against Canada in the championship game in front of a sold-out crowd at USA Hockey Arena.
Knight started the game-winning play by blocking a shot in the American defensive zone. Taking advantage of a 3-on-2 break, Kendall Coyne set up Knight for the game-winner, a rising shot from the slot.
The U.S. women have now won seven of the past eight World Championships.
It was an emotional win for the American women, who had threatened to boycott the World Championships if they didn’t receive a contract that would change the landscape of women’s hockey in America.
Demanding what they called a “livable wage,” the Americans finally received a new deal that will pay them approximately $70,000 in non-Olympic years and more than $100,000 in Olympic years.
Their new deal came only three days before they opened the tournament with a win over the Canadians in the preliminary round.
Knight was one of the vocal leaders of the players’ demands for an improved financial package.
The U.S. player of the game was Kacey Bellamy, who scored twice. Her second goal had given Team USA a 2-1 lead 42 seconds into the third period, but Canada tied it on a power-play goal by Brianne Jenner at 9:44 of the period. Team USA’s Brianna Decker was in the penalty box for hooking.
As expected, the game was evenly played. The game was tied 1-1 after two periods and Canada had a 20-17 edge in shots.
The game felt that close, with both teams pressuring the opposition at various times.
Former Canadian Olympic star Cassie Campbell tweeted after the first period of Friday’s game that it was the fastest period of women’s hockey she had ever seen.
Meghan Agosta scored at 1:01 of the first period to give Canada a 1-0 lead, and Bellamy had answered at 4:34 to tie the game.