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USA women's hockey beats Canada in OT to win world championship

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AP

USA women's hockey beats Canada in OT to win world championship

PLYMOUTH, Mich. (AP) -- The U.S. women's hockey players threw their sticks and gloves in the air and celebrated, capping an emotionally charged two-week stretch with a 3-2 overtime win over Canada in the women's world championship final Friday night.

Hilary Knight made the postgame party possible by scoring 10:17 into the extra period to make the Americans winners on and off the ice. After threatening to sit out the tournament, they won a contentious fight with USA Hockey for better wages that will allow the country's best female hockey players to make a living playing the sport.

"I'm so proud of this team for performing the way we did after battling the way we did off the ice," said Meghan Duggan, the Americans' captain. "A lot of history was made."

The U.S. won its fourth straight world championship title and eighth in the last 10 tries against their rivals, who will get their shot at revenge as defending Olympic champions next year in South Korea.

Brianne Jenner tied it at 2 for Canada midway through the third period on a power play after Kacey Bellamy's second goal early in the period gave the Americans their first lead in the gold-medal game.

The U.S. had two power plays in the third period with 7:24 and 2:24 left along with another power play early in OT, but couldn't capitalize on the opportunities to score a go-ahead goal with an extra skater.

Canada's Meghan Agosta scored 1:01 into the game, and Bellamy tied it 3 1/2 minutes later.

Nicole Hensley stopped 28 shots for the U.S.

Canada's goaltender, Shannon Szabados, was tested much more and made 37 saves.

"She was unbelievable," Agosta said. "She kept us in the game."

The Americans boldly said they would boycott the tournament, which would've embarrassed USA Hockey at a tournament held in an arena named after the organization, if they didn't get more money and perks their male counterparts get such as flying in business class and staying at nice hotels. The landmark deal allows them to make more than $70,000 during non-Olympic years and as much as $129,000 in Olympic years, including 2018, when combined with contributions from the United States Olympic Committee.

"We knew that was going to be a bond that was unbreakable," Knight said.

USA Hockey looked like it tried to break the unified front of American women, trying to find lower-caliber players to take their spots in the world championship if Plan B became necessary.

"They didn't want to forgo this opportunity, but they were willing to do it," Dee Spagnuolo, one of the attorneys who represented the women without a fee, said during the first intermission at USA Hockey Arena. "Every time we huddled up to make tough decisions before and during negotiations, they were united and firm. This team off the ice is so united and in adverse, tense situations in games, it helps them win on the ice, too."

The U.S. carried the momentum from the win against USA Hockey into the eight-nation tournament by dominating the competition until their rivals pushed them into OT.

The Americans were the better team in the end, though, creating lots of scoring chances in the sudden-death period that could have lasted up to 20 minutes. They didn't need that much time to finish the Canadians off with a second straight OT victory in a world championship gold-medal game.

Knight, who made a no-look, between-the leg pass to set up Bellamy's second goal, was trailing on a 3-on-2 rush when Coyne dropped a pass to her and she scored from the inside of the left circle. In the 2011 world championship final, Knight also scored the gold-medal winning goal in OT.

"She's one of the best in the world and she comes up big when you need her and the moment is huge," Bellamy said. "That's what's what make her so special. When everything is on the line, she comes through clutch."

When Knight lit the goal lamp, the jubilant Americans screamed with joy and hugged in a huge huddle.

"Nothing compares to a gold-medal game against Canada," Bellamy said. "The emotions are so high. The energy in the building was incredible and it was a really fast-paced game and we had to fight to the end."

The Canadians, meanwhile, skated in the other direction. They rested their gloves on their knees and stared at the ice in silence as a sold-out crowd at USA Hockey Arena roared.

In the beginning of the tournament, Canada struggled before rallying to face off against the Americans as they've done in all 18 world championships. The Canadians opened with a 2-0 loss to the U.S. and a stunning, 4-3 setback against Finland before bouncing back with an 8-0 rout of Russia and a 4-0 win over the Finns in the semifinals.

"We were resilient the whole tournament," Agosta said.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

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AP

Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

The Blackhawks are expected to be without defenseman Connor Murphy for "a couple weeks" after he left in the second period of Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because of a groin injury, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game.

It's the same injury that sidelined Murphy for the season opener in Prague, which is unfortunate given his promotion to the top pairing with Duncan Keith has provided some stability on all three pairings. 

"Obviously that's a blow for us," Colliton said. "It's an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That's what we're going to need. We can't just play with six D or seven D all year. You're going to need more than that. That'll be an opportunity for other guys to grow."

Slater Koekkoek is serving as the seventh defenseman right now and he's the likely candidate to slide into Murphy's spot in the lineup. But the Blackhawks might be inclined to make a call-up from Rockford as insurance.

Dennis Gilbert started the season with the Blackhawks because Murphy and Calvin de Haan were not cleared to play overseas, so he's a potential candidate to be brought back up.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.