Throughout the entire 2018 Winter Games, NBC Olympics staff will select three stars to spotlight special performers from each day’s competition.
Rebecca Johnston, Canada: The crafty winger kicked off her third Olympics with a bang, as she spearheaded Canada’s offense against the Olympic Athletes from Russia with two goals and an assist. The 28-year-old opened the scoring early in the second period when Brianne Jenner found a cutting Johnston to give Canada a 1-0 advantage. It wasn’t long before Johnston doubled her team’s lead with her second point of the night, firing off a snap-shot that Haley Irwin tipped into the goal.
Johnston grabbed her final goal of the night—Canada’s fourth—midway through the final period. Johnston found herself right by the crease but with an impossible angle on OAR goaltender Nadezhda Morozova’s glove side. Undeterred, Johnston ripped the puck inside the near post and into the roof of the net.
Kendall Coyne, United States: The left-handed winger tallied the game-winning goal for the U.S. in their first tilt of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. While on the power play, Hilary Knight made a cross-ice pass to set up Coyne for the one-timer. After surrendering a goal in the final seconds of the first period, the Americans struck twice in the middle frame, and added an empty netter in the closing minute. The U.S. will rely on their top line consisting of Coyne, Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel to produce offensively throughout the tournament as they try to avenge their gut-wrenching loss against Canada in the gold-medal game during the 2014 Sochi Games. They will face the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Tuesday at 7:10 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
Noora Raty, Finland: One of the best individual players in the tournament, the well-respected goaltender made 39 saves in Finland’s 3-1 loss against the United States. Raty was forced to make save after save against the powerful U.S. team as the skaters in front of her failed to generate sustained offensive pressure. In large part due to Raty’s ability, Finland is expected to challenge for a medal this year, and has an outside chance of advancing to the gold-medal game. They will have to find a way to create more offense, but with Raty between the pipes, anything is possible. Finland will face tournament favorite Canada in their next tilt on Feb. 13. Puck drop is et for 2:40 a.m. on NBCSN.
Oliver Jung contributed to this report