GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: USA's Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson #17 scores a second period goal against Valeria Tarakanova #1 of the Olympic Athletes of Russia while Fanuza Kadirova #17 looks on during preliminary round action at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Top-10 scoring plays in 2018 women’s tournament
Since opening day, the world’s top female players have showed off skills that thrill at the 2018 Olympics. Let’s rank the 10 best goals - so far.
1) Muller Dances Through the Defence
Alina Muller was in tears after Switzerland lost 6-2 to the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the quarter-final. But the 19-year-old Zurich forward’s brilliant 2-1 goal brought smiles to the faces of hockey fans around the world. Splitting the Russian defence, she evaded blueliner Yekaterina Nikoleyeva and roofed a backhander with authority for her tournament-leading seventh tally.
2) Coyne Turns On the Afterburners
After the 3-1 round-robin win over Finland, U.S. superstar Hilary Knight dubbed linemate Kendall Coyne a “little speed demon.” Nobody who saw the 2016 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner’s goal in the 2-1 loss to Canada would disagree. In the opening minute of the third, Coyne grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and zipped past four Canadians to beat goalie Genevieve Lacasse.
3) Muller Flat-Out Hurts the Puck
Do pucks feel pain? The way Alina Muller hammered home her one-timer in a 2-1 group-closing victory over Sweden, you could just about hear the vulcanized rubber screaming. She doesn’t have a Russian passport, but on a 5-on-4, her blistering shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle, deftly set up by Christine Meier, had shades of Nikita Kucherov and Ilya Kovalchuk.
4) Spooner Spoonfeeds Agosta
En route to gold at the Vancouver Olympics, Meghan Agosta set a women’s single-tournament record with nine goals, co-owned with Switzerland’s Stephanie Marty. The 2010 Olympic MVP got her 17th career Olympic goal on the power play versus the U.S. on a play that proved Natalie Spooner has eyes in the back of her head. Spooner’s no-look, backhand pass landed right on Agosta’s stick and she powered it inside goalie Maddie Rooney’s left post.
5) Shokhina’s Shorthanded Beauty
When a team scores shorthanded while killing a 5-on-3, it’s newsworthy. When it’s a dazzling breakaway goal, it becomes unforgettable. OAR forward Anna Shokhina exploded past Switzerland’s Lara Stalder in the neutral zone and cut across the front of Florence Schelling’s net. She showed great patience, and, as IIHF writer Andy Potts put it, “Shokhina wrapped it up by going top shelf in a move with hints of Connor McDavid’s flair.” The Tornado Moscow Region captain wears #97 like a certain Edmonton Oilers superstar.
6) Switzerland Shares, Muller Scores
At its best, women’s hockey features stellar puck movement. The Swiss gave host Korea a master class in their 8-0 opening win. Alina Muller tied single-game Olympic records with four goals and six points, and the way she completed her natural hat trick with 12 seconds left in the first period was a tribute to teamwork. Muller positioned herself by the crease as her teammates befuddled the Koreans with precision passing, and finally banged the puck inside goalie So Jung Shin’s left post. Sara Benz and Christine Meier drew the assists, but every skater out there deserved one.
7) Jocelyne’s Quality Quickness
Apparently it wasn’t enough for the U.S.’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson to set a new Olympic record with two goals in six seconds. No, her second tally in the 5-0 romp over the OAR team had to be a work of art. (Or, as Twitter popularly put it, “filthy.”) Off the faceoff, this three-time Olympian poked the puck past three Russians and confronted goalie Valeria Tarakanova. In a flash, she gave a leg kick, a head fake, and a quick backhand move before her top-shelf finish. Asked afterwards if she’d enjoy having bragging rights forever over her twin sister Monique, Jocelyne chuckled: “Sure. That’s one thing I can hold over her head!”
8) Valila’s Veteran Moves
“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” That’s Shakespeare on Cleopatra, but the great English playwright might as well have been describing Riikka Valila. Still getting it done at age 44, the leading Finnish scorer showcased her limitless creativity with her 3-0 goal in a 5-1 victory over the OAR team. In the dying moments of the second period, she faked her way past blueliner Angelina Goncharenko and fooled goalie Nadezhda Morozova with a high backhand. (Raise your hand if you hope Valila is practicing her Chinese because you’d love to see her in Beijing in 2022.)
9) Johnston Is Johnny-On-the-Spot
Most Canadian hockey players would rather visit the dentist than talk themselves up in a post-game interview. So when Rebecca Johnston was asked about the confidence boost she got from her spectacular second goal in Canada’s 5-0 victory over the OAR team, the two-time Olympic gold medalist giggled slightly before responding: “I mean, it’s nice to get those goals in for sure. A lot of the girls had really great opportunities and mine ended up going in.” More effusively, former teammate Tessa Bonhomme tweeted: “Wow! Pardon me Rebecca Johnston! What. A. Goal! Her 2nd of the game just a beauty.” If you want to know how to elevate a puck perfectly over a defender and goalie on a 5-on-3 power play, watch the replay – over and over again.
10) Hello, Nieminen!
Petra Nieminen, Finland’s youngest player at 18, delivered the crucial first tally in Finland’s 7-2 quarter-final thrashing of Sweden, and the Tampere native did so in style. A great pass by captain Jenni Hiirikoski to an onrushing Venla Hovi created time and space for Nieminen, who picked up the puck and scored with a backhand deke. Expect many more highlight-reel goals from her in the future.