UMD Women Skate for Medals at the 2010 Olympic Games
IRWIN, OUELLETTE WIN OLYMPIC GOLD; TUOMINEN, POSA, TWO OF SIX BULLDOGS TO WIN MEDALS
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Haley Irwin celebrates her first Olympic gold medal Thursday night in Vancouver. Credit: Getty Images
Former Bulldog and Team Canada assistant captain Caroline Ouellette helped Canada hold off Team USA Thursday 2-0 in the gold medal game in Vancouver, B.C., in a showdown for women's hockey most prize possession.
The medal is Ouellette's third, but the gold is the first of its kind for current UMD redshirt forward Haley Irwin, who becomes the third player in Bulldog history to earn the Olympics highest honor. (Ouellette and Team USA stallwart Jenny Potter are the others).
Irwin will join current UMD players Saara Tuominen and Mariia Posa, who were each awarded the bronze medal prior to Team Canada's collection of gold. In all, seven current or former Bulldog players and coaches picked up hardware Thursday night. Potter's silver is her fourth Olympic medal (gold in 1998, silver in 2002 and 2010, and bronze in 2006), making her the most decorated UMD Olympic medalist in program history. Ouellette's third gold (2010, 2006, 2002) gives her a stranglehold on the most gold medals by any Bulldog, past or present.
TUOMINEN LEADS FINLAND TO BRONZE
Team Finland has been in the Olympic bronze medal game four times in the past four Olympics with one bronze medal in 1998, but on Thursday, Finland finally grabbed some metal again.
Lead by Finland assistant captain and UMD senior captain Saara Tuominen, Finland overtook Team Sweden 3-2 in overtime, with Tuominen aiding on the game-winning goal just 2:33 into extra time. Tuominen, who was credited with the goal before the it was determined the puck went off former Bulldog Erika Holst's stick, rushed the net on a cross-rink pass to force Sweden's misplay and seal the game for the medal-hungry Finns.
In a game that featured two currently rostered UMD players (Tuominen and Mariia Posa for Finland), four currently redshirted Bulldogs (Elin Holmlov, Pernilla Winberg, Jenni Asserholt and Kim Martin for Sweden) and three UMD alums (Heidit Pelttari, Finland, Maria Rooth and Holst for Sweden), the Bulldogs were featured all over the scoresheet. Pelttari netted Finlands first goal of the game (and her first of the Olympics) 24:24 to give Finland the 1-0 lead, while Rooth's power-play goal at 32:24 of the second period knotted the game at one apiece.
The end of regulation saw a still knotted up score of 2-2, but Finland needed just 2:23 to undo the game and their medal-less past. Skating in her second Olympic games, Tuominen's rush to the net created the game-winning goal, and the celebration was on after that, as Tuominen, one of the hardest working players in all of women's hockey found herself right in the midst of Finland's sudden joy.