By Karen S. Schneider/Blaine
Updated February 10, 2014 12:00 PM




On Dec. 16, team members (left to right) Jessie Vetter, Kendall Coyne, Kelli Stack, Hilary Knight, Kacey Bellamy and Brianna Decker swapped their jerseys and pads for gowns and $1.8 million of diamonds from JB Hudson Jewelers.

SO WHAT WILL IT take for the 2014 women’s hockey team to dominate in Sochi? Grit, focus, speed – and great mascara. “Look good, feel good, play good!” says forward Hilary Knight. “It’s a team mantra.” After months of training, the 21 players (from various schools and pro clubs) are “like sisters,” says captain Meghan Duggan, 26, also a forward. “We can talk through the tough stuff and stay friends.” At their PEOPLE shoot at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., they traded barbs, sang to Miley Cyrus and, oh yes, made plans to kick Canada’s butt. While Team U.S.A. won the sport’s 1998 Olympic debut, Canada has taken gold at every Games since. The U.S. women want the top spot back. “For the swag,” jokes defenseman Kacey Bellamy. “We didn’t get much swag with silver.”

What’s it like in the locker room?

JESSIE VETTER, 28, GOALTENDER: Most of us have been playing together since 2010, so there’s no drama. Well, there’s drama, but it’s just talk: the latest episode of Scandal or our significant others. I’m like the older sister who tells everyone what to do, who to date. Hilary is the team prankster.

HILARY KNIGHT, 24: It’s true; I am.

KACEY BELLAMY, 26: I’m the sarcastic one.

KELLI STACK, 26, FORWARD: I’m the girlie-girl. I will totally be wearing bronzer at the Olympics.

Any pregame superstitions?

KNIGHT: I sit in the stands and chew bubble gum. And I toast a bagel with a heat gun in the locker room. I put on a special necklace. It says, “Dare to be …” stack: I put everything on my left side first: left skate, left shin pad, left elbow pad. Then my right side.

BELLAMY: I do my makeup and straighten my hair. I have to do everything precisely. That precision gets you in the zone.

VETTER: I don’t have a ritual. If you have them, they control you.

How do you like to unwind?

BELLAMY: Dinner or movies – we loved The Hunger Games. Kendall coyne, 21, forward: I didn’t go to Hunger Games. At school [she’s a junior at Northeastern University] I’m majoring in communications with business and Spanish minors, and I’m a sideline reporter for the boys’ hockey games.

BELLAMY: Or we’ll go to Red Sox games. And Hilary hosts Burrito Night every Monday.

KNIGHT: My billet mom [from the family she lives with during training] makes burritos. I bake cookies.

VETTER: I’m a Wisconsin girl. Give me a brat with sauerkraut, I’m happy.

BRIANNA DECKER, 22, FORWARD: The coach doesn’t frown on balance. She likes her glass of wine; I like my cookie dough ice cream.

STACK: We can’t party a lot. We’re so tired, we just hang out, watch TV.

VETTER: Some of us crochet.

What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to get this far?

STACK: Not being able to see my family when I want. I didn’t get to see my nephew grow up. We miss out on the little things because we have bigger dreams.

VETTER: When you put on that U.S.A. jersey, those sacrifices are worth it. I still get goose bumps.

COYNE: I didn’t attend one high school football game, dance or prom. I was always just a hockey player—never a person—in high school.

DECKER: I went to my prom. I haven’t dressed up since then.

So did you all enjoy a day of glamour?

DECKER: Walking in stilettos is, by far, harder than skating on a blade.