LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Not long ago, Kate Buesser was sleeping on Hilary Knight's couch and wondering if it was time to give up her dream of playing in the Olympics.
Then came a call from Team USA and Buesser didn't miss her chance. Fast forward to Saturday night at the 2013 Four Nations Cup and Buesser found herself in a similar situation. The faceoff play didn't go to plan, but when Monique Lamoureux's pass landed on Buesser's stick, she didn't hesitate and buried the puck top shelf for her first goal in a U.S. sweater.
"I think I jumped to the ceiling," she said. "I couldn't have imagined it (a year ago) ... It's an experience I never gave up on."
The U.S. bench erupted in cheers and teammates snagged the puck to give Buesser a momento of her first tally.
"I exploded on the bench," Knight said. "I was so excited for her."
Buesser's mother and uncles were in the stands and the forward tried to not let her emotions climb too high after the goal but knew her family wasn't doing the same.
"I knew where she was sitting but I didn't make any eye contact," Buesser said of her mother. "As much as I wanted to look up in the stands and wave and give a high five it was sort of inappropriate at that moment."
The goal sparked Team USA to life and ultimately an 8-1 win over Sweden in the tournament's third place game. U.S. head coach Katey Stone said she didn't see Buesser's goal live, but added that she will look at film to savor the moment.
"It can be easy to lose sight of some of these special moments and we're trying not to along the way," Stone said. "All of these moments we're trying to reflect on and keep remembering because they are pretty special for everybody."
For Buesser, the goal is another step in a journey toward a dream that she thought was gone.
"You always hear never give up on your dreams and to be honest I did for a while," she said. "But when you come back around and realize what you play the game for and to take the chances when you can it's a great feeling."