MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Well, it took 20 years, but the U.S. women's hockey team has another gold medal. The team's 3-2 win broke a long Olympic winning streak for Canada and avenged a loss at the Sochi Games four years ago. NPR's Elise Hu reports on this matchup of the world's best, one that ended in a thriller.
ELISE HU, BYLINE: These two teams were so evenly matched throughout the game that regulation time ended in a 2-2 tie. A 20-minute overtime didn't resolve things either. The U.S. and Canada then found themselves in a tense shootout. American Anna Muzzy was there with her Canadian husband.
ANNA MUZZY: I mean, both teams were fabulous to get through a 20-minute overtime and play at that level all the way through. And that shootout was amazing.
HU: Amazing and anxiety-inducing. American coach Robb Stauber...
ROBB STAUBER: It took a little bit longer than, you know, I suppose the families would like. You know, they're probably up there nervous as all heck.
HU: Especially by the sudden-death shootout, which ended in a dramatic goal by forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson. A final save by the U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney clinched the win.
HU: For winning forward Hannah Brandt...
HANNAH BRANDT: We've been working really hard for this, and it feels pretty good to be on the gold medal side of it.
HU: This victory was especially sweet after a 20-year gold medal drought and after all the battles the team has won off the ice. This squad fought for the same pay as USA men's hockey for years, eventually winning that showdown last year.
BRANDT: Yeah. And we've been through a lot as a team. We've battled a lot of battles. And this was just another one of those today - was fighting for a gold medal. And we were able to come out on top again.
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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Gold medalists and Olympic champions - United States of America.
HU: Canada had previously beaten the U.S. three times in the Olympics final, including twice in overtime. Canada's goalie, Shannon Szabados, said a shootout was a poor way to decide such a close game.
SHANNON SZABADOS: Yeah, it sucks. It's - it becomes more individual and less of a team thing - so a little harder to swallow.
HU: But unforgettable for fans, especially because of the way the longtime rival teams fought so hard to the finish. Muzzy, who brought her daughter all the way from Seattle to catch this, says she hopes the thriller has lasting effects.
MUZZY: The U.S. women show everyone that women's sports are worth watching, worth supporting, worth spending money on and worth just being there for as a fan.
HU: This riveting rivalry game was certainly worth being there for. Elise Hu, NPR News, Gangneung, South Korea. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.