U.S. women to go for gold
U.S. women to go for gold
Americans outshoot Swedes 70-9 in romp
With Monday's victory, the United States women are bound for the Olympic gold medal game for the fourth time. Featuring 11 returning players from the 2010 team that settled for silver with a 2-0 final loss to Canada, they’re hungry to top the podium for the first time since Nagano 16 years ago.
"We actually talked to some of the girls on the ‘98 team before we came out here," said Kelli Stack, who mentioned the likes of Colleen Coyne, Sandra Whyte, and Vicki Movsessian. "They just wanted to tell us that there’s something special about our team, and that’s the way they felt in ‘98. We just want to bring a gold medal back to the States. It’s been so long."
Boasting the highest-scoring attack here in Sochi, the Americans appear primed for a likely final rematch with the Canadians.
Asked to summarize that rivalry, goalie Jessie Vetter said: "Intense. It’s an awesome battle. You know that going in there. You’re bringing your best and they’re bringing their best."
"We’ve been training together all year, and we know exactly what we need to do," said U.S. captain Megan Duggan. "It’s all about execution at this point."
Sweden will face the loser of Canada-Switzerland in the bronze medal game. The Swedes last won Olympic bronze in 2002. They finished fifth in 1998 and fourth in 2010.
The American skaters were simply stronger, faster, and better-organized in every aspect of the game. The Swedes could only offer a token resistance after surprising favoured Finland 4-2 in the quarter-finals.Continue reading
"It was tough out there," said Swedish starting goalie Valentina Wallner. "They are maybe the best team in the world and even though we prepared for it, it was still tough."
Megan Bozek and Brianna Decker racked up a goal and two assists apiece, while Kacey Belamy and Amanda Kessel both tallied a goal and an assist. Alex Carpenter and Monique Lamoureux also scored for the United States. Kendall Coyne added a pair of helpers.
Anna Borgqvist had the lone Swedish goal.
Peppered with rubber, Wallner had a fine performance despite conceding five goals, and was relieved by Kim Martin Hasson midway through the second period. Vetter earned the win as shots favoured her team by a whopping 70-9 margin.
The U.S. recorded the third-most shots on goal in one game in Olympic women’s hockey history, matching the mark set by Canada on February 16, 2002 versus Sweden. The all-time record is 91, set by the U.S. on February 12, 1998 against Japan.
For the Swedes, the only silver lining here was that the final score wasn't as lopsided as the 9-1 pastings the Americans gave Sweden in the 2010 Olympic semi-finals in Vancouver and the 2011 World Women’s Championship in Switzerland. Those were the last two times these nations clashed in IIHF competition.
"They're a really good team and we had to be sure we got organized as best we could," said U.S. veteran Julie Chu. "It's a good result, but we haven't won anything yet."
It didn't take long for things to go wrong for Damkronorna here.
At 5:45, Borgqvist hauled down Kendall Coyne, giving the Americans the first power play of the afternoon. The U.S. capitalized just 25 seconds later, with Kelli Stack bursting down the right side, looping around Wallner’s net, and centering it in the low slot to Carpenter. She made no mistake with her shot inside the left post.
At 7:16, the U.S. took a 2-0 lead on Bellamy’s screened drive from the center point.
The Swedes succeeded in killing off back-to-back minors, but just after the second penalty expired, Kessel darted in to roof a rebound over Wallner’s right pad and give the U.S. a three-goal gap at 11:19.
Swedish coach Niclas Hogberg called a timeout to regroup, but unfortunately, the game was already out of reach.
It was a tale of total territorial determination. The Americans outshot Sweden 29-1 in the first period alone. The record for most shots by one team in a period was set by the U.S. on February 12, 1998 when they fired 34 shots on Japan.
"I thought we focused on moving the puck, supporting each other well, and making smart plays, taking shots from all angles," said Vetter. "It didn’t matter where the puck was, we wanted to put the puck on net. We put the puck in the net."
Early in the second period, Monique Lamoureux stickhandled her way to the goal on a 2-on-1, but Wallner made a tremendous diving glove save.
Lamoureux wouldn’t be denied when leading Swedish scorer Pernilla Winberg was sent off for interference. From the hash marks, Lamoureux zipped one high to the glove side to make it 4-0 at 5:41.
Bozek gave the U.S. a 5-0 lead at 12:17 with a hard, low shot from the blueline that got past Wallner’s right skate.
In the third period, the Americans eased off the throttle a bit, and the crowd of 4,542 got to do some cheering for the yellow-and-blue underdogs.
The Swedes spoiled Vetter's shutout bid with 6:56 left, as Borgqvist tipped in Emma Eliasson's shot from the right point. A minute and a half later, Martin Hasson stopped Jocelyne Lamoureux's spinnerama attempt on a penalty shot.
Decker scored the sixth American goal at 16:58, hammering a shot off the crossbar that rebounded into the net off Swedish defenceman Emilia Andersson.
"We're in good shape for the final," said Amanda Kessel. "We're a fast team and we got our forecheck on."
Back to Overview