GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — U.S. women’s hockey coach Robb Stauber said he doesn’t expect captain Meghan Duggan to face disciplinary action that would keep her out of the Olympic gold medal match after a collision in the semifinals that required two people to virtually carry Finland’s Ronja Savolainen off the ice.
Duggan and the Finnish defenseman banged legs in the faceoff circle nearest the Finland bench, and Savolainen went crashing face-first into the boards. A couple of teammates gathered around her, the medical staff came out to tend to her and for several minutes the Gangneung Hockey Center remained quiet awaiting a positive sign.
Savolainen was eventually helped off, with one person under each arm, her legs dangling almost uselessly beneath her. But she returned in the second period and said after that she had no symptoms more serious than cold legs from being on the ice so long.
Women’s hockey doesn’t allow checking like the sport familiar to NHL fans. Duggan was not penalized for the hit, and Stauber said the referee told him it was an unavoidable collision.
“She came over right away, the ref came over and said, ‘Hey, it’s a collision,'” said Stauber, who was unable to see the hit from the U.S. bench. “Based on everything they said, it looked like a collision. Two players going hard at a puck. It happens.”