Americans dominate Sweden; gold medal rematch with Canada awaits

The Sports NetworkFebruary 17, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - There was clearly no looking ahead for the U.S. women's hockey team.

The Americans accounted for the first 26 shots in their semifinal against Sweden and rolled to a 6-1 victory, earning a spot in the gold medal game on Thursday against Canada.

Alex Carpenter, Kacey Bellamy and Amanda Kessel scored to stake the Americans to a 3-0 lead before the Swedes even registered a shot against U.S. goaltender Jessie Vetter late in the opening period.

The United States outshot Sweden by a whopping 70-9 count in the rout. Monique Lamoureux, Megan Bozek and Brianna Decker also scored for the Americans, who haven't won gold since women's hockey made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Games in Nagano.

Canada, which advanced on Monday with a 3-1 win over Switzerland, lost to the U.S. in the 1998 title game, but has since won the last three Olympic gold medals, beating the Americans in the championship game in 2002 and 2010.

"We're very pleased and taking the moment to recognize where we're at and what we're going to be playing for on Thursday," said U.S. head coach Katey Stone. "Again, we're building here and the best is yet to come we hope."

Sweden has just one victory in 28 meetings with the U.S., but it was a big win -- a 3-2 shootout triumph in the 2006 Olympic semifinals. The Americans gained a measure of revenge four years later with a 9-1 rout of the Swedes in the 2010 Olympic semis.

Anna Borgqvist was credited with the lone goal for Sweden late in the contest, spoiling Vetter's shutout bid. Vetter finished with just eight saves.

Valentina Wallner started in net for Sweden and was pulled after yielding five goals on 47 shots. Kim Martin Hasson turned aside all but one of the 23 shots she faced in relief, including a penalty shot by Jocelyne Lamoureux late in the third.

The Americans grabbed a 1-0 lead on a power play. Kelli Stack carried the puck through the offensive zone along the right wing and circled behind the net before firing a pass into the slot for Carpenter, whose shot was headed wide but deflected off the skate of a Swedish defender and slid into the net.

Bellamy increased the advantage just 1:06 later when a blast from the left point eluded a screened Wallner, and Kessel chipped in a rebound from the left side of the crease with 8:41 remaining in the period to make it 3-0.

The Swedes took a timeout after the third goal and had a couple of chances on the power play late in the period, but managed just one harmless shot.

An interference penalty on Sweden's Pernilla Winberg early in the second period led to Monique Lamoureux's power-play goal, and Bozek's point blast slid under Wallner with 7:43 left in the second for a 5-0 cushion.

Wallner was pulled soon after.

The Swedes finally snuck a shot past Vetter, as Borgqvist deflected an Emma Eliasson point shot into the back of the net with 6:56 remaining.

The Americans had a hard time beating Martin Hasson, who made a nice pad save on Jocelyne Lamoureux's penalty shot attempt. Lamoureux tried a spin move in front of the crease and Hasson kept the right pad extended to turn aside the backhand attempt.

Martin Hasson finally yielded a goal with 3:02 to play when Decker's shot from the slot rang off the crossbar and Swedish defenseman Emilia Andersson inadvertently kicked it into her own net.

Sweden will play Switzerland for the bronze on Thursday.

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