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:
Kacey Bellamy — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Lee Stecklein — Olympian (2014)
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)
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.
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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