THN in Sochi: Canada vs. USA for gold…again

The gold medal game everyone expected came to fruition when Canada defeated Switzerland in the semifinal game at the Olympics. Even though Canada had lots of chances to score and badly outplayed the Swiss, it had trouble finishing.

SOCHI – For the fourth time in five Olympics, Canada and USA will meet for a gold medal in women’s hockey, meaning Canadian veterans Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford are one win away from the unique distinction of winning gold medals in four separate Olympics.

But they’ll have to overcome a formidable foe in order to do it. The Americans looked utterly dominant in their 6-1 win over Sweden, while Canada had a plethora of opportunities, but struggled a little to find the back of the net in its 3-1 win over Switzerland in the other semifinal. If not for the fine play of Swiss goalie Florence Schelling, plus two goals called back for Canada, this game would have been a blowout.

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Natalie Spooner scored two goals for Canada in the victory and Melodie Daoust also scored for Canada. Jessica Lutz replied for Switzerland, touching off a huge celebration on their bench during which the players were literally dancing to the arena music.

The gold medal game is set for Sunday. I’ll have an updated blog and more analysis later.

THN’s Three Stars: Natalie Spooner (Canada); 2. Florence Schelling (Switzerland); 3. Hayley Wickenheiser (Canada).