– The USA's Monique Lamoureux sped down the left wing with the puck on her stick blade, cut strong to the front of the net and patiently waited for the experienced Swedish goaltender Kim Martin to make the first move before calmly sliding the puck between the goalie's leg pads.
The 20-year-old's poised goal was just the start; she scored three on Monday afternoon in a 9-1 win by Team USA over Sweden.
The rout avenged a stunning 3-2 shootout loss to the Swedes in the semifinals at the 2006 Olympics Torino, Italy, where Martin locked down the Americans with 37 saves. Team USA awaits the winners of tonight's Finland-Canada match, widely expected to be the home country's juggernaut.
Lamoureux hasn't scored a hat trick all season, but that didn't stop her from stealing the limelight before another full house at Canada Hockey Place.
"Nothing compares to this, playing in a tournament like this with so much on the line, it's definitely up there as No. 1 right now," Lamoureux said of her hat trick. "I was jumping around a little bit. I was pretty excited."
Playing on the second line with four-time Olympian Jenny Potter and Hilary Knight, she proved to all those watching her Monday why everyone talks about the girl from Grand Forks, N.D., with the uncanny ability to score goals.
U.S. coach Mark Johnson
classifies Lamoureux as one of a few young American players who have improved leaps and bounds during the last few months to be ready for their shot at Olympic gold.
"As far as Monique, and with a bunch of our young players, they've probably grown over the last six or eight weeks," Johnson told NHL.com after the game. "I think they're really starting to mature and become real good international, Olympic-caliber players. It wasn't that way in September and October. But through their hard work and their commitment to becoming better players, we're seeing that on the ice right now."
"Nothing compares to this, playing in a tournament like this with so much on the line, it's definitely up there as No. 1 right now. I was jumping around a little bit. I was pretty excited." -- Monique Lamoureux
Monique comes from a hockey-crazed family raised in Grand Forks and she is joined on the U.S. team by her identical twin, Jocelyne. Together, they are the first female twins to compete for U.S. women's Olympic hockey team. Monique said she anticipates the twins' presence might inspire young girls in their home state to play the sport, too.
The twins, who played their freshman year at the University of Minnesota, have transferred back home to play at the University of North Dakota. But they aren't the first in their family to play for the Fighting Sioux -- their father Pierre and brother, Jean-Philippe, both played hockey for the University of North Dakota, and their other brother Mario currently plays for the men's team.
"I hope to have the opportunity next year to make girls hockey in North Dakota a little bit better and get more numbers in Grand Forks," said Monique. "When we were growing up there, they didn't have a girls' team and they didn’t get one until we were in middle school."
With another stellar performance in the gold-medal game on Thursday, young girls in North Dakota could just be headed to their local rinks to be the next Monique or Jocelyne Lamoureux.