Ice hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics had a plethora of highlights during the two weeks of competitions.
While the Olympics did not feature any NHL players on the men’s side, that does not mean there weren’t plenty of exciting moments. It was an opportunity for other players to shine and for some countries, get a chance to make some history.
The United States continued its dominance on the women’s side, getting back to the gold medal game with a team it is all too familiar with.
On the men’s side, the United States could not have asked for a better start, going undefeated in group play before suffering an upset early in the playoffs.
Here is a look at some of the best moments in ice hockey in Beijing.
Finland wins first gold medal in ice hockey
What better way to conclude ice hockey at the Olympics than with some history?
Finland’s men’s ice hockey team defeated the ROC 2-1 in the gold medal game to win the country its first-ever gold medal.
The Finns finished the 2022 Winter Olympics undefeated. After the three wins in group play, the team beat Switzerland in the quarterfinals, Slovakia in the semifinals and the ROC in the finals.
Coach Jukka Jalonen’s crew allowed just two goals in its three playoff games en route to the milestone. It’s the seventh total medal in men’s ice hockey for Finland at the Winter Olympics.
Slovakia earns first Olympic ice hockey medal
It wasn’t just Finland making history with its Olympic medal. Before the gold medal game, Slovakia had etched its name in Olympic ice hockey history as well.
Slovakia won its first-ever Olympics ice hockey medal, defeating Sweden in the bronze medal game.
The closest Slovakia had ever come before to a medal was reaching the bronze medal game in 2010, where the team fell to Finland, missing the podium.
A large portion of the success came on the shoulders of 17-year-old Juraj Slafkovsky. A projected top-five pick in this summer’s NHL draft, Slafkovsky earned tournament MVP honors with a tournament-best seven goals in seven games. He had two goals in Slovakia’s win over Sweden to grab the bronze.
Canada edges the U.S. in one of the greatest rivalries
The women’s ice hockey tournament ended with the two teams that have dominated women’s ice hockey on an international scale for years — the United States and Canada.
The two met for the fourth-straight Olympics in the gold medal game, but this time, it was Canada coming out on top with a 3-2 win.
It was the fifth gold medal for the Canadians, who avenged its 3-2 shootout loss to the U.S. in the 2018 gold medal game.
Marie-Philip Poulin terrorized the United States yet again, potting two goals in the win. “Captain Clutch” has appeared in four gold medal games and has a goal in every one. Out of the last 10 goals scored by Canada in a gold medal game, Poulin has seven of them.
Sean Farrell opens Olympics with hat trick
Sean Farrell kicked off his Olympics debut with a bang.
The forward from Harvard University and Montreal Canadiens’ draft pick potted a hat trick and added two assists in the United States’ men’s ice hockey opening win over China.
Farrell’s five points were the second-highest scored by a U.S. male skater in a single game at the Olympics, as well as the first hat trick at the Olympics for an American male since Phil Kessel in 2014.
Canada’s Sarah Nurse creates history
When it came to women’s ice hockey at these Olympics, no name appeared more often on the score sheet than Sarah Nurse.
The 27-year-old Canadian forward set a new record for points in a single Olympics for women’s ice hockey with 18 in six games, breaking the longtime record held by fellow Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser from 2006. She also now holds the record for most assists at a single Olympics with 13.
She started off the tournament on Canada’s third line but between an injury to Mélodie Daoust and Nurse’s play, she was eventually bumped up to the top line where she did not disappoint. Nurse kicked off the scoring in the gold medal game against the U.S. with a goal in the first period.
Perhaps more importantly, not only was Nurse the only Black hockey player out of any of the women’s teams, but she became the first Black woman to win Olympic gold in ice hockey.
Denmark grabs first wins in Olympics debut
The 2022 Winter Olympics marked the first time that Denmark was competing in ice hockey.
Both the men’s and women’s teams for Denmark made their Olympics debut in Beijing. But these two squads didn’t have plans just to show up and have that be enough.
No, both the men’s and women’s teams earned their first Olympic ice hockey victories. The women’s team defeated the Czech Republic in group play to grab the Danes’ their first-ever Olympic ice hockey win. The men’s team followed with two wins group play before beating Latvia in the qualification round of the playoffs.
It’s safe to say that Denmark looked like it belonged on the Olympic stage and hopefully there is more Danish participation in the coming Winter Olympics.