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Bellamy’s family, friends react to Olympic loss

By Carley Dangona
WESTFIELD – A heartbreaking end to the Women’s Olympic gold medal hockey game sent Kacey Bellamy’s family and friends into silent disbelief.

The U.S. team led Canada 2-0 until Brianne Jenner scored to make it 2-1 with just 3:26 left in the third period. A second goal by Marie-Philip Poulin in the final minute of regulation sent it into overtime, setting up Poulin to score the game winner at 8:10.

Supporters of Bellamy, who was part of the silver winning team in Vancouver, gathered at the Tavern Restaurant, 2 Broad St., to watch the Americans and Canadians battle for gold. Those in attendance included Bellamy’s sister Lindsey Bellamy, cousins Jeanine and Robert Braceland, aunt Jeannie Fiedler and Mayor Daniel Knapik. When the winning goal was scored, a hush came over the crowd as they sat and stared, openmouthed at the replay.

During a timeout in the third period, Reminder Publications chatted with Lindsey about watching her sister in the Olympics. She said, “ It’s the most incredible feeling – words can’t describe – she’s my hero. I love her so much. I’m so proud of her, of the whole team. The past four years of blood, sweat and tears has seriously shown.”

Just prior to the overtime period, Knapik said, “This is an unbelievable, rare opportunity for any community. No matter the outcome, we’re very proud of Kacey and her family – they’re great ambassadors for the U.S.”

When asked if the game was as nerve-racking as election day, he responded, “About the same.”

As the teams fought for control of the puck in overtime, the mayor’s wife, Tricia Knapik, voiced the stress of the room. “I’m gonna throw up,” she said.

After the reality of the game’s end set in and the crowd came back to life, Robert Braceland said, “Silver doesn’t suck.”

In response to the outcome, Lindsey said, “Honestly, they should have won this game. They still left with a silver medal [though].”

When asked what she’d say to Kacey if she was alongside her in Sochi, Russia, Lindsey stated, “I love you so much. You guys did a great job.”

Will Kacey “go for gold” in the 2018 Winter Olympics? “I think she should give it a try. I think that she’ll keep trying,” Lindsey said.

Jeanine Braceland reacted to the loss. She said, “I was extremely hopeful – what a great game. I’m so proud of Kacey; she works every day to get where she is. We have four more years.”