U.S. and Canada reach gold medal final

Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:15pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Canada edged Switzerland and the United States cruised by Sweden on Monday to set up a gold medal rematch between the arch-rivals in the women's ice hockey tournament at the Sochi Games.

The Americans barely had to break sweat in their 6-1 win but a determined Swiss team gave Canada a tougher fight than many expected even after falling behind early in a 3-1 loss.

Leading 1-0, Canada looked headed for a routine victory after beating Swiss goalie Florence Schelling twice in a 23-second span and pulling ahead 3-0 less than 12 minutes into the opening period.

But Switzerland got on the board early in the second period and kept pressing while the three-time defending gold medalists were unable to beat Schelling the rest of the way despite outshooting the Swiss 48-22.

"We knew that they have a great team and a great goalie and we just kept coming, we stuck with the game plan and they gave us a run for our money," Canada's Meghan Agosta told reporters.

"That just goes to show you that women's hockey is getting a lot better and a lot of teams are getting a lot stronger and that's what we want."

Canada beat the United States 2-0 in the final at the 2010 Vancouver Games and also beat their biggest rival 3-2 during the preliminary round in Sochi.

Ice hockey's two superpowers will play for gold on Thursday.   Continued...

Canada's goalie Shannon Szabados (R) is congratulated by teammates Jocelyne Larocque (C), Laura Fortino (8) and Meghan Agosta-Marciano (2) after they defeated Switzerland in their women's ice hockey semi-final game at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games February 17, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young