2018 was a whirlwind of hockey. From the Olympics to the professional championships and more, it was full of memorable moments. We at TIG chatted about our personal favorite moments of the year. Share yours in the comments or as a FanPost.
Mike Lopez: My top moment has to be the Metropolitan Riveters winning the Isobel Cup. As a fan from the team’s inception, I couldn’t not be there. The superstitious fan I am, I wore the Miye D’Oench jersey I had worn when they won their first playoff game the week before. Walking into the rink, you could feel the excitement and nervousness in the air.
The stands were almost full for warm-ups (for warm-ups!) and I was so excited to be there, I forgot to get a seat. After the pre-game ceremonies, I camped myself in the corner of the rink, right over Katie Fitzgerald’s left shoulder. The game was physical from the start (the norm when the Rivs & Beauts play that season). I remember watching D’Oench heading up ice with Alexa Gruschow and other Riveters in tow. I saw the backs of Beauts’ defenders then a body on the ice. Then the crowd erupted and no one around me knew why until we saw the celebration. We had missed Gruschow fighting off defenders to score as she was in the air. What would turn out to be the most important goal in Riveters history and we missed it!
For the next two and a half periods we watched the two best teams battle it out for Izzy. We cheered for every Fitzy save. We groaned at every penalty against the Rivs. We clapped when Amanda Leveille made a great save. There were times you could hear a pin drop. There were times I needed to remind myself to breathe. The game was that intense. As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the third, the crowd rose to their feet. The final horn sounds, gear goes airborne as the team rushes to pile on Fitzy. The Metropolitan Riveters are Isobel Cup Champions.
Valerie: I’m a biased Team Russia fan so I’m going to go off the board and bring up something that happened when 2018 wasn’t even a week old. January 6, Russia 3, Canada 2 at the U18 Worlds behind 34 saves by Diana Farkhutdinova and a third-period winner from Oxana Bratisheva. It was the first time that a North American team lost to someone other than each other, and could be “warning shots” from the rest of the field that the gap between the two titans of the sport could be closing (even though Russia lost the rematch in the bronze medal game 5-1).
Jen Silber: I also would say that my top moment was watching the Metropolitan Riveters win the Isobel Cup. I’d seen teams I root for win championships before — the USWNT had just done it a few weeks earlier in PyeongChang — but never before had I been in the building where it was happening.
Having become a Riveters season ticket holder the previous season, I wouldn’t call myself a long-term or early fan. But having been a Riveters season ticket holder for two seasons at that point, I was hopeful that the players I loved — Ashley Johnston, Bray Ketchum, Madison Packer, and the rest — had a chance to prove themselves as champions.
I was tense and nervous even before the game started. I refused to wear any Riveters gear lest I tempt the hockey gods. And once Alexa Gruschow scored to put the Riveters in the lead, I didn’t dare leave my seat (not even at intermissions).
When there were mere minutes remaining in the third period, it looked like the Riveters might manage to win their first Isobel Cup by the impossibly tight score of 1–0. I probably didn’t blink or even breathe as the final seconds ticked down. And then Kiira Dosdall was hugging Katie Fitzgerald, gloves and helmets were soaring through the air, and it was over — though the celebration was just beginning. What a thrill to see ‘my’ team defeat the rest of the league in person!
Mike Murphy: Team USA’s shootout win over Team Canada at the PyeongChang Olympics was the best moment in women’s hockey this year.
The U.S. team came back from a 2-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period. After a scoreless overtime that had everyone watching occupying the edge of their seats, the gold medal game needed to be settled in the shootout.
We all know what happened next — Maddie Rooney’s brilliance under pressure, Mélodie Daoust’s sensational goal, and the Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson deke that made us forget all about it.
Team USA’s PyeongChang gold medal victory was the program’s first Olympic gold in a generation. The last time we saw American women receive gold medals on Olympic ice was 1998 — the first Winter Olympics to host a women’s ice hockey tournament. It was a gold medal victory that mattered all the more because of the team’s “Be Bold for Change” campaign and battle for equity with USA Hockey. It was a gold medal victory that erased any and all doubt that Team USA was the best hockey team in the world.
Michelle Jay: I mean, Team USA winning gold was epic beyond belief. The Isobel Cup and Clarkson Cups were also insane. But I have to say the top moment for me was a game I was at: the Beanpot Finals. What a Boston-based hockey fan thing to say, I know.
The game went back and forth before Daryl Watts scored to tie it up with five minutes left in the game. Toni Ann Miano ended it with a killer shot, scoring the game winning goal in her final Beanpot. The game featured some of the brightest seniors in college hockey, some of who are tearing it up in pros — Miano, Katie Burt, Victoria Bach, Rebecca Leslie, Nina Rodgers.
William Whyte: The moments above are all great and involve results whose significance will live on for a long time. But for me perhaps the most purely enjoyable moment was a less epochal one: it was the moment when, in the Ohio State-Minnesota game on Oct. 20, Ohio State took a penalty at the start of the game and went into the first puck drop a player down because their jerseys were black and the numbers were black and you couldn’t tell where the jerseys ended and the numbers started because they were both black.
The story was covered extensively at our sister SBNation College Hockey site and even made it to a great article in the Athletic (paywall). But perhaps the best thing of all to come out of it was this enormously on-brand interview with OSU coach Nadine Muzerall, in which she off-handedly said, “I’d prefer to be Darth Vader than Luke Skywalker any day.” You know, as if it was a thing that all right-thinking people agreed with.
OSU won of course. Because Darth Vader always wins. Or something.
Nathan Vaughan: While the Olympics was fun for me personally, seeing Florence Schelling’s last games for the Swiss, getting my first real look at Alinna Mueller (man has she been fun to watch at NU), and that gold medal that finally came south of the border, the best moment in 2018 was the Hockey East Tournament. NU had never won it before and missed their chance to host in 2012 due to HEA’s questionable decision to move the tournament to Hyannis, MA that year.
Not many of us expected NU would win it but there was a chance. What was completely shocking was the fact that they played UConn for the title, which no one saw coming. Then freshman Aerin Frankel continued to play up in the big games and got the Huskies a trip to the NCAA’s.