By Bailey Putnam, deputy sports editor
Northeastern women’s ice hockey junior forward Kendall Coyne added another gold medal to her resume this weekend as she and the rest of the United States women’s national hockey team won the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Women’s Championship finals in Sweden.
Coyne potted a goal in the 7-5 win over Canada, her third of the tournament. Her seven points in the tournament earned her the sixth spot on the leaders list and her plus/minus rating of eight was a tournament best.
Coyne is not new to the podium. Of the six total US national teams that have brought home gold in the IIHF Championships, she has been a part of three. Coyne also has a silver medal in the same tournament, as well as two golds and a silver in the U18 IIHF Championships in addition to the silver medal she earned in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
This year was the first time US Head Coach Ken Klee got the chance to work with Coyne, but it was apparent to him from the moment he saw her play that she would be an impactful player, he said.
“It was evident right away that she had world-class speed,” Klee said. “This tournament, her play-making ability started to catch up with her speed. She’s a great competitor, she wants to get better and play at her best and she has tremendous chemistry with her linemates.”
Coyne was on the ice with forwards Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker, two of the premier female hockey players in the world. They held the first and second spots on the tournament scoring list, respectively, racking up 12 and 11 points.
Coyne, though younger than her linemates, used her experience to cull the nerves of playing on the large stage.
“The Olympics is the biggest stage you can play on as a woman,” Coyne said. “Once you play under that pressure and spotlight, it helps ease the pressure of a tournament like IIHF. With time and experience, I’ve gotten more confidence to do more in my role. I knew that this game I needed to step up.”
Through her involvement with the national team, Coyne has been able to play alongside NU alumnae like Julia Marty and Florence Schelling. She also is able to play on the same team as women she normally battles with during her collegiate season. Hockey East and crosstown rivals Boston College junior forwards Dana Trivigno, Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa and defenders senior Emily Pfalzer and freshman Megan Keller become friends and teammates when they play on the big stage together.
“It’s fun to get the opportunity to play with them,” Coyne said. “We talk about games and experiences and make jokes with each other about them. It’s nice to be able to talk about our seasons against each other and then play on the same team.”
Coyne has her last season of college hockey to look forward to next winter, after a 52-point effort this year. Beyond that, her future on the national circuit is promising, according to Klee.
“She has a tremendous future ahead of her,” Klee said. “She’ll definitely be playing for the US program for a long time whether I’m coaching or not. It’s one thing to be fast, but it’s another thing to be able to make plays and she’s definitely starting to get that part of her game down.”
Photo courtesy USA Hockey