The United States erased a one-goal deficit en route to a 3-1 victory against Team Finland Sunday at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Kendall Coyne each tallied second-period goals while Maddie Rooney made 23 saves for the U.S.
"It was tremendously important," Coyne said of the victory. "We want to win the game, and I don't think we got down when we went down one-nothing. We stuck to our game plan."
Finland scored in the final seconds of the first period when Petra Nieminen made a pretty pass and found a cutting Vinla Hovi to give Finland a 1-0 advantage.
However, the United States rallied back. Lamoureux-Morando was able to dig the puck out of the corner, drive to the net and then collect her own rebound to knot the game, 1-1 at 8:58 of the second period.
The U.S. took the lead at 11:29 of the middle frame when Hilary Knight found a wide open Kendall Coyne while on the power play. Brianna Decker carried the puck into the offensive zone shortly after Finland cleared to set up the odd-man rush opportunity. Dani Cameranesi added an empty-netter in the final minute of the third period.
"In order to be the best, you need to beat the best," Coyne added. "It was a great first start, and our focus now turns to the Olympics Athletes from Russia."
Despite surrendering an early goal, the U.S. won the territorial battle throughout the game. Finland was unable to clear the puck and got pinned in their own zone on multiple occasions while failing to establish sustained offensive pressure of their own.
Finland’s goaltender Noora Raty, widely regarded as one of the best individual players in the tournament, made 39 saves and did as much as possible to keep her team within striking distance.
"If she can see it, it's probably not going in," Lamaoureux-Morando said of Raty. "We're going to face some tough goalies in this tournament so to bury two in the second was good for us, but moving forward, I'd like [us] to score a few more goals."
U.S. head coach Robb Stauber kept his starting goaltender a secret but ended up choosing Rooney for the preliminary contest. It was the first Olympic appearance for the 20-year Andover, Minnesota native. Alex Rigsby was the backup while Nicole Hensley was a healthy scratch.