Hockey Fans, Players Pleased as Women’s Ice Hockey Strikes Gold

WILKES-BARRE -- They can now be referred to as the "golden girls." For the first time since 1998, the United States Women's Ice Hockey Team has captured the gold medal.

The thrilling shootout victory over Canada captured the attention of hockey fans nationwide, including some of the American players on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

"It's tremendous for the program, the program in its entirety for men's and women's and I think it shows the growth that the United States has had in the hockey development," Chris Summers said.

"They've always been there, right there, but to finally get over the hump and beat Canada in a gold medal game, it was definitely big for USA hockey, women's hockey. It's come a long way and it's definitely moving forward," Patrick McGrath said.

"Great shot, great shootout, that's just awesome, so awesome for those guys. I know they've been working really hard and we're just proud of them," said head coach Clark Donatelli.

Because there's a mixture of American and Canadian players on the Penguins roster, players tell Newswatch 16 that in the locker room before practice, there were some friendly jabs thrown.

"Speaking as an American, it's very special to beat the Canadians. They sure heard it this morning in the locker room," Summers said.

"It's tough," said Garrett Wilson, a player from Ontario, Canada.  "It had to come to a shootout to decide a gold medal game like that, but I thought the referees were a little biased towards the United States. I thought they could've evened it out a little more."

Center Thomas Di Pauli was born in Italy but trained over the summer with Kendall Coyne, who recorded two shots on goal in the gold medal game.

"It's pretty cool because I know how hard she trains and how seriously she takes it. She's out in the summer back skating by herself, so it's pretty cool to see her win gold," Di Pauli said.

The Americans and Canadians on the Penguins will have to be on the same page when they play Friday night.