The United States women’s hockey team got their Olympics off to a great start when they defeated defending bronze medalist Finland, but the victory came at a price as three-time Olympian Brianna Decker suffered a leg injury in the first period.
The American squad, looking to win back-to-back gold medals for the first time in team history, will now have to move forward without the Wisconsin-native, as Decker has been ruled out for the remainder of the Olympics because of the injury.
While the loss will test the United States team’s depth, they are banking on their tightly-knit chemistry to help carry them through.
“We definitely had a little nerves in the beginning. I think it got better as the game went on,” Savannah Harmon, a Downers Grove-native, said.
It was a great day for players that hail from the Chicago area, with Harmon picking up an assist in her first career Olympic game. Team captain Kendall Coyne Schofield added two goals in the victory, matching her total from the 2018 PyeongChang run that culminated in the Americans dethroning Canada.
Now, it’s all about the path forward for the United States, as a matchup with the Russians looms on Saturday.
“To get the first one under our belt was great. I think we got better every period,” Coyne Schofield said. “I think we have a lot to be proud of, a lot to learn from as we move forward.”
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:10 a.m. Saturday.