The U.S. women’s hockey team beat Canada 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game of the women’s world championship Friday night in Plymouth, Mich., capping a tumultuous few weeks in which the American players threatened to boycott the tournament as they negotiated a new contract with USA Hockey.
Hilary Knight was again the star of the show, scoring the game-winning goal 10:17 into OT. Per the Associated Press (via the Detroit Free Press), Knight also made a no-look, between-the leg pass to set up a goal by Kacey Bellamy that put the U.S. up 2-1 early in the second period. Bellamy scored the USA’s first goal, too.
Knight also scored the winning goal for the U.S. in the gold medal game at the 2011 world championship.
The USA’s best players nearly didn’t even compete in the 2017 tournament. With the tone of negotiations contentious, USA Hockey reached out to younger and lesser-caliber players to fill the roster. But a deal was struck March 28, three days before the puck dropped.
Under the new agreement, U.S. women’s hockey players earn more than $70,000 during non-Olympic years and as much as $129,000 in Olympic years, and also get perks like flying business class and staying in quality hotels, the AP notes.
“I’m so proud of this team for performing the way we did after battling the way we did off the ice,” said U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. “A lot of history was made.”
Friday’s gold medal victory marks the fourth straight world championship for the U.S. women.
Their sights are now set on the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. While the USA has beaten Canada in eight of their last 10 meetings, their neighbors to the north got the better of the Americans at the 2014 Games in Sochi, beating them 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game.