U.S. Olympic women’s hockey roster

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team is set after the final two skaters were cut — Sochi silver medalists Alex Carpenter and Megan Bozek.

The 23-player team:

Goalies
Nicole Hensley
Alex Rigsby
Maddie Rooney

Defensemen
Cayla Barnes
Kacey Bellamy — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kali Flanagan
Megan Keller
Sidney Morin
Emily Pfalzer
Lee Stecklein — Olympian (2014)

Forwards
Hannah Brandt
Dani Cameranesi
Kendall Coyne — Olympian (2014)
Brianna Decker — Olympian (2014)
Meghan Duggan — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Amanda Kessel — Olympian (2014)
Hilary Knight — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Monique Lamoureux-Morando — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Gigi Marvin — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kelly Pannek
Amanda Pelkey
Haley Skarupa

The leaders are Duggan, the captain, and Knight, the world championship MVP in 2015 and 2016 who scored the 2017 worlds golden goal in the final against Canada.

Kessel, the younger sister of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel, returns to the Olympics after nearly retiring due to a concussion.

Kessel suffered the head injury crashing head-first into boards bordering the ice in 2013. She recovered to play in Sochi, but the concussion effects returned afterward, and she sat out nearly two years.

The U.S. women won the last four world titles, but Canada took gold at the last four Olympics, including an unforgettable comeback and overtime victory in Sochi.

Canada also beat the U.S. in their last four meetings of their eight-game, pre-Olympic series that wrapped up two weeks ago.

MORE: Canada Olympic women’s hockey roster

Carpenter and Bozek joined forward Annie Pankowski as the three skaters who made the initial 23-player national team in May but were cut in the last month.

“It’s never easy to let veterans go who are just a big part of the program,” said U.S. head coach Robb Stauber, an NHL goalie in the 1990s. “We have to go to South Korea with what feel most comfortable with, and that’s a very difficult decision.”

Carpenter, the daughter of longtime NHL forward Bobby Carpenter, led the U.S. with four goals in Sochi and scored the 2016 World Championship final game-winning goal in overtime against Canada. She played in the last four world championships.

Bozek, who captained the University of Minnesota’s undefeated 2013 team, led U.S. defenders in points in Sochi (five). She played in four of the last five world championships.

“I might not agree with the decision made to exclude me from the team, but for the 23 that were named to the Olympic team, I only want to wish them the best to bring home the first gold since 1998,” was posted on Bozek’s social media.

Pankowski was one of the last two players cut from the 2014 team.

Three cuts needed to be made after three skaters were added to the national team this fall — defenders Cayla Barnes and Sidney Morin and forward Haley Skarupa.

Barnes, an 18-year-old Boston College freshman, will become the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player since 2006.

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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

Lindsey Vonn wins 79th World Cup race as oldest downhill victor (video)

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Lindsey Vonn became the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill with three weeks until the Olympics, notching her 79th career victory in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday.

In PyeongChang, she can become the oldest female Alpine medalist in Olympic history.

Vonn prevailed by .92 of a second over Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather on Saturday, moving seven shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record of 86 World Cup victories.

“My focus right now is just so much on Olympics that I haven’t really thought about [the record] that much this season,” Vonn said. “After the Olympics, that will be my No. 1 priority again, and I’ll try to just rack up as many wins before I retire as possible.”

American Jackie Wiles was third to become the fifth U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for PyeongChang, joining Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, among others. (full U.S. Olympic roster here)

Shiffrin was seventh in Saturday’s race in her least comfortable discipline.

Full results are here.

Vonn, 33, broke Austrian Elisabeth Goergl‘s record as the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill. Goergl is still the oldest winner for any World Cup race, taking a super-G in 2014 at nearly 34 years old.

Vonn, already an Olympic medal favorite in downhill and super-G, won her first downhill since Jan. 21, 2017.

She had raced eight downhills in between with four podium finishes, including taking second to Italian Sofia Goggia on Friday in Cortina. Goggia failed to finish Saturday.

The World Cup continues with a super-G in Cortina on Sunday (5:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

“Mentally, I feel like it’s the first podium I ever got,” Vonn said. “Back in 2004, I feel the same. I have the same motivation, the same drive, the same excitement. I love going fast. That’s never changed. The only thing that’s changed is my body is not as good as it once was, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still win.

“I’ll keep going until my poor little knee gives out.”

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VIDEO: Shaun White scores perfect 100 to qualify for Olympics

IOC approves unified Korea Olympic team, 22 North Korean athletes

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North and South Korean athletes will compete on the same team at the Olympics for the first time, while the IOC approved 22 North Koreans to compete overall in PyeongChang.

The IOC on Saturday approved the Koreas’ agreement to field a unified women’s hockey team and to march together in the Opening Ceremony behind the Korean Unification flag.

Twelve North Koreans have been added to the South Korean women’s hockey team. The other North Korean athletes will compete in figure skating, Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and short track speed skating.

Full details are here.

“Today marks a milestone on a long journey,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “Since 2014, the IOC has addressed the special situation of having the Olympic Winter Games 2018 on the Korean Peninsula. Until today, we met separately with the parties on a bilateral basis to address an often fast-changing political situation in a comprehensive way. Today is therefore a great day because the Olympic Spirit has brought all sides together. This was not an easy journey.”

At the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9, one North Korean and one South Korean will carry the flag in the Parade of Nations. The Koreas previously marched together at the Opening Ceremonies in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

The hockey team will compete as “Korea,” under the unification flag and using the song “Arirang” as its anthem. North Koreans will compete under their own flag in all other sports.

North Korea did not qualify any spots for the Olympics, but the IOC had power to offer special invitations.

“Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago,” Bach said. “The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula.”

The 22 North Korean athletes mark more North Koreans at a Winter Olympics than the last six Winter Games combined.

North Korea had zero athletes in 2014 and two in 2010.

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MORE: South Korea Olympic hockey rosters have North American flavor