this was not the beginning the beginning of the usa olympic games. uu. scheduled women’s hockey team.
brianna decker, one of the team’s best strikers, fell to the ice screaming in pain in the first period of an eventual 5-2 win over finland on thursday, the us team’s first preliminary round match. uu.
Reading: Brianna decker injury video
decker, who led the team in assists during the 2018 gold medal effort in pyeongchang, south korea, had to be stretchered off the ice with what was called a lower body injury for the assistant captain. The injury occurred when he was caught in Finland’s Ronja Savolainen, a move that the referees did not call for a penalty.
“They saw it as people getting tangled up,” said u.s. trainer Joel Johnson, adding that Decker’s injury was still being evaluated. “I’m biased, so I saw it a little bit differently. but I don’t think it was a missed call by any means.”
The injury left the players shaken.
In between the first and second period, forward Amanda Kessel told NBC that it was a “sickening moment” hearing Decker’s cries of pain. Kessel called her longtime teammate “a key player on the team.”
“She’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever played with or against, so you know she’s not lying on the ice and crying when she’s not bad,” Kessel said. “So she’s definitely a gut puncher. we want to win for her.”
The 30-year-old forward remained as close to her teammates as possible, emerging next to the U.S. bench on crutches.
“I just told him, ‘We’ve got this,’” Capt. Kendall Coyne Schofield said. “No matter what happens, she is a big part of this group. …you saw that in our response after she went down, how much we picked up the game and took control.”
savolainen called the play “an unfortunate situation” and spoke with decker after the game.
“I just ask how she’s feeling, and then I said, ‘Sorry.’ Like, I didn’t want to hurt her,” she said.
kessel opened the scoring minutes after decker’s injury, with alex carpenter scoring his first goal of the tournament to double and take the lead 3 ¹/₂ minutes later. Schofield added a pair of goals in 64 seconds in the second period to freeze the Americans’ dominant win.
The U.S. now faces the prospect of going through the rest of the tournament without its top center.
“There is no way to replace brianna decker,” schofield said. “But in that situation, everyone stepped up in the way they were asked to. And I think that’s how we succeeded tonight.”
The U.S. improved to 9-0 against Finland in Olympic play. The U.S. has Friday off before facing the Russians on Saturday.
The Americans aren’t the only team to feel the sting of injury so early in the tournament. rival canada, team usa’s main hurdle to repeat as olympic champions, did not provide an update on forward melodie daoust after the reigning olympic mvp failed to return to the team’s opening match following a harsh check from sarah foster in the boards in a 12-1 defeat of switzerland.