Five years after Maria Rooth made history as the first NCAA Women’s Frozen Four MVP, the former Minnesota-Duluth star has made history again — with the help of future UMD star all the way.
Rooth (UMD ’03) scored both Swedish goals and the shootout clincher to defeat the U.S. in the Olympic semifinals. The win was Sweden’s first victory ever over the United States in international play.
Swedish goalie Kim Martin, who says she will play for UMD next season, stopped 37 of 39 U.S. shots leading up to the shootout. She also stopped all four U.S. shots in the shootout, won 2-0 by Sweden.
The Swedes advance to play Canada in the Gold Medal Game, while the U.S. is left to play Finland for the Bronze. Canada beat Finland in the late semifinal by a 6-0 margin, thanks to five power play goals on just seven chances. Three Dartmouth seniors scored four of Canada’s goals.
Sweden 3, U.S. 2 (SO)
The U.S. failed to advance despite jumping ahead early with a pair of power play goals. Kristin King (Dartmouth ’02) buried a rebound off a shot from the point by Harvard senior Julie Chu for the 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Kelly Stephens (Minnesota ’05) deflected in a shot from the point by former Gopher teammate Lyndsay Wall to make the score 2-0 a minute into the second period.
Sweden got back into the game thanks to Rooth’s world-class finishing abilities and turnovers by American defensemen behind their own net.
Sweden made the score 2-1 just 6:17 into the period when Emilie O’Konor stole the puck from Courtney Kennedy (Minnesota ’01) and fed Rooth in front for a snapping backhand shot that caught U.S. goalie Chanda Gunn (Northeastern ’04) off guard.
Sweden tied the game shorthanded just before the midway point when another UMD star Erika Holst ’03 intercepted a pass from Wall and set up Rooth in the slot.
The U.S. could not score again in the second period despite seven minutes of power play time, compared to just two for Sweden. That time included more than two minutes of five-on-three play.
The U.S. outshot Sweden 25-7 in the first two periods, but the third period was a different story as the Americans, playing with a short bench, struggled to mount any attack. Sweden outshot the U.S. 5-4 in the period and came inches away from winning the game on a five-on-three just before the end of regulation.
The U.S. showed more life in the overtime and outshot the Swedes 8-3, thanks in part to a power play, but the Americans still could not solve Martin.
Natalie Darwitz (Minnesota ’05), captain Krissy Wendell (Minnesota ’05) and Angela Ruggiero (Harvard ’04) had scored to give the U.S. a shootout win over Canada in the 2005 World final, but that success did not carry over today. Darwitz took the first shot and hit the crossbar. Jenny Potter (UMD ’04) got stopped by Martin on the second attempt. Ruggiero had Martin beat but could not make the final move to put the puck in the net. Wendell was stopped by Martin on the fourth attempt.
Gunn stopped the first two Swedish attempts, but teenager Pernilla Winberg beat her on the third shot. Rooth threaded the puck just above her right pad to clinch the shootout and the historic upset.
Canada 6, Finland 0
The Finns held off Canada for the first 17 minutes, before their march to the box began. With 2:17 left in the first period, the Finns let Dartmouth senior Katie Weatherston skate free out of the corner for the first score.
Just 92 second later, Dartmouth senior Gillian Apps converted a rebound at the crease from a Gina Kingsbury (SLU ’04) shot for the 2-0 first intermission lead. Apps leads the Olympics in goals scored, with most of them coming from a similar position.
Canada put the game out of reach with two more power play goals in the first 6:26 of the second period. Hayley Wickenheiser gathered a wide Gillian Apps shot at the blue line and slipped the puck through traffic for the 3-0 lead. Caroline Ouellette (UMD ’05) also converted from the blue line through the five-hole for a 4-0 lead.
The third period belonged to Dartmouth senior Cherie Piper. Wickenheiser, from the crease, passed back to set up Piper for Canada’s fifth goal. Piper then scored from the faceoff circle on the power play on a feed from Wickenheiser to round out the scoring.