Palos Heights native—and NBC-touted "NHL player in a woman's body" Kendall Coyne—is one game closer to a gold medal.
Coyne and Team USA Woman's Hockey dominated Sweden 6-1 on Monday to advance to the gold medal game of the women's ice hockey competition at the Sochi Olympics. The 2010 silver medallists burned up the ice and the nets in the first 12 minutes, notching a quick three goals, and ultimately outshooting the Swedes, 70-9.
Lumping Coyne in with her male athlete counterparts is nothing new. The 5-foot-2 lefty started in figure skates at just 3 years old. But she preferred hockey pads to skating outfits, slap shots to triple Salchows. She would tag along with her dad John and brother Kevin to his hockey games and practices at Orland Ice Arena.
"I didn’t want to do that (figure skating)," Coyne said. "I wanted to be like my brother and fell in love with the game."
Coyne skated and practiced right alongside the boys.
"I grew up playing boys hockey—that’s all there was," Coyne said. "I see my sister growing up playing girls hokcey. If you love it, keep going with it. There are so many opportunities now and they’ll continue."
Sweden, Canada and the United States stand as the only three teams to reach a gold medal game since women's ice hockey joined the Olympics in 1998.
Local supporters are feeling the love for Coyne. Staff at Sandburg High School last week planned ahead and dressed alike—in support of their (hopeful) golden girl.
Team USA moves on to play the winner of Monday's other semifinal match between Canada and Switzerland.
Follow along with Coyne's journey with her Twitter updates.