International Ice Hockey Federation

WW Top 25 Stories: #2

WW Top 25 Stories: #2

Sweden’s ‘Mirakel’ produces Olympic silver

Published 03.04.2015 09:58 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
WW Top 25 Stories: #2
Maria Rooth scores the game-winning goal in the shootout against the U.S. in the semi-final of the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Photo: Jani Rajamaki / Europhoto
17 February 2006. The odds were so long on anything out of the ordinary happening in Turin.

No sane person would possibly have bet a penny on a surprise in the semi-final game between Sweden and the United States.

The two teams had played nine times in Olympic and Women’s Worlds competition prior to 17 February 2006, and the USA had won all nine by almost entirely lop-sided scores.

Sweden won two of its three preliminary round games in Turin, losing only to Canada, and the Americans had won all of theirs. If there was a surprise, it was that the U.S. scored “only” 18 goals in those games, impressive, to be sure, but only half what Canada had achieved.

The North Americans could only compare these numbers prior to meeting each other, as a way to see where each stood in respect to the other, but it seemed the U.S. lacked the usual firepower, if these numbers meant anything.

The Americans started off strong against Sweden, however, drawing two penalties and scoring on the second power play, Kristin King making it 1-0 at 11:55 of the first period.

Kelly Stephens made it 2-0 at 1:04 of the second, on another power play, their fifth of the game, and all was going according to script.

But at 6:17 of the period, Maria Rooth got one back for the Swedes, and she tied the game with a short-handed goal at 9:40 to make it 2-2. The 5,654 fans at the Palasport Olimpico in Turin were stunned, but there was half a game to play and surely the Americans would get back on track.

Indeed, they had the only three power plays during the second half of the second, but goalie Kim Martin was sensational and the teams headed to the dressing room still tied.

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In the third, shots on goal were 5-4 in favour of Sweden, but there were no goals. The Swedes had three power plays to two for the U.S., and with the passing of every minute the Americans grew more and more nervous while the Swedes played with ever greater confidence. The fans could not believe what was happening, and when the siren sounded to end the third period – regulation time – overtime was now required. Inconceivable!

That ten-minute fourth period yielded nothing. The U.S. had a late power play to win it, but again the Swedish defence was bullet-proof and the game went to a penalty-shot shootout.

Now the game was 50-50. Martin was every bit equal to Chanda Gunn in goal, and with a little luck...?

The Americans shot first and missed, as did the next four skaters, but Pernilla Winberg scored to give Sweden a 1-0 lead in the five-shot contest. Krissy Wendell missed, and when Rooth scored on her shot, the game was over. The Swedes had won the game, 3-2, to advance to the gold-medal game.

It marked the first – and still only – time a women’s final was not contested between the North American powerhouses. The first question reporters asked goalie Kim Martin after the game was what the Swedish word for Miracle was, as in USA’s 1980 Miracle on Ice.

“M-i-r-a-k-e-l,” she spelled out, with a grin as big as the greatest upset in women’s hockey.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of women's hockey in the IIHF, writer Andrew Podnieks is counting down the top 25 stories in women's international hockey history. One story each day will appear until the Number 1 story is unveiled the morning of the gold-medal game of the 2015 Women's Worlds in Malmo, Sweden, on April 4.

Earlier Top 25 Stories:
#3: USA wins first Olympic gold
#4: Switzerland comeback earns historic medal
#5: First women inducted into IIHF Hall of Fame
#6: Women’s hockey becomes an Olympic event
#7: Rider organizes an international tournament
#8: 15-year-old Wickenheiser makes her debut
#9: USA finally wins WW gold in 2005
#10: Lightning strikes for Manon of the crease
#11: 15-year-old Martin leads Sweden to bronze
#12: Angela James cut prior to Nagano
#13: Amanda Kessel misses 2014/15 with concussion
#14: IIHF removes body-checking from women’s hockey
#15: Jenni Hiirikoski becomes first Euro two-timer
#16: Former NHLer Yashin leads Russian women to bronze
#17: Cammi Granato cut before Turin
#18: Visitors win twice in North American finals
#19: IIHF makes Women’s Worlds official for 1990
#20: Rogge issues challenge to women’s hockey
#21: IIHF goes to all-women officials
#22: Shannon Miller recruits Euros for NCAA
#23: IIHF introduces junior event for women
#24: Zorn a goalie and skater both
#25: Russia-Switzerland a dandy display in 2011


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