THN in Sochi: USA romps to gold medal game

USA outshot Sweden 51-6 through the first two periods and, predicatably, cruised to an easy 6-1 win over Sweden in the semifinal of the women’s hockey tournament. USA plays the winner of the Canada-Switzerland semi for the gold medal.

SOCHI – Half of the party everyone expected at the 2014 Olympics was set when USA breezed through to the gold medal game with an overwhelming 6-1 victory over Sweden in the women’s hockey semifinal.

The result was never, ever in doubt. USA outshot the Swedes 29-1 in the first period and staked itself to a 3-0 lead on goals by Alex Carpenter, Kacey Bellamy and Amanda Kessel. Monique Lamoureux and Megan Bozek added goals in the second period, then USA bascially let up on the gas pedal and cruised the rest of the way. In fact, when Anna Borgqvist of Sweden scored at 13:04 of the third period to break up Jessie Vetter’s shutout bid, it touched off a huge celebration at the Shayba Arena. Another layer of intrigue was added when Swedish goalie Kim Martin-Hasson stopped Jocelyn Lamoureux on a penalty shot at 14:34 of the third.

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Brianna Decker scored for USA in the third period.

The win puts USA in the gold medal game against the winner of the Canada-Switzerland semifinal, which goes later today. The Swedes were actually not expected to make the semifinal round, but found themselves in the game thanks to their shocking upset of heavily favored Finland in the quarterfinal.

I’ll have an updated blog and more analysis later.

THN’s Three Stars: 1. Megan Bozek (USA) 2. Brianna Decker (USA) 3. Valentina Wallner (Swe).