This Day In History: February 17

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On February 17, 1998, in Nagano, Japan, the United States defeats Canada, 3-1, to win the gold medal in the first women's hockey tournament held at the Winter Olympics. "After these Olympics, I hope the sport grows times a million," American forward Katie King says. "Anyone who watched the (gold medal) game, they're going to want to watch more women's hockey."

Said American forward Tricia Dunn: "I'm speechless and amazed that we played a near-perfect game."

The win was especially sweet for the United States, which had lost four times to Canada in the Women's World Hockey Championship since 1990.

After taking a 1-0 lead, the Americans dominated. Canada made the score 2-1 with a third-period goal, but the United States scored a late goal to cement the win.

Immediately after the U.S. victory, gloves and sticks sailed into the air. Karyn Bye, an alternate captain for the United States, wrapped herself in a flag as most of the rest of her teammates mobbed each other on the ice. 

"I've coached a lot of teams at different levels, and I don't think I've ever been more moved by the efforts and dedication of the players on my team," U.S. coach Ben Smith said.

The United States followed its 1998 gold medal with a silver medal at the Games in Salt Lake City in 2002. The American women earned a medal in every Olympics since Nagano, taking their second gold medal in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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