VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The United States earned ruthless revenge and a place in the Olympic women’s ice hockey gold medal final, crushing Sweden 9-1 on Monday.
Shocked by the Swedes in the semi-finals at the 2006 Turin Winter Games, the Americans made sure there would be no repeat of the biggest ever upset in women’s Olympics hockey, storming into Thursday’s final where they will face off against either arch rivals Canada or Finland.
The mighty Americans, who steamrollered through the preliminary round with an unbeaten 3-0 record outscoring their opponents 31-1, showed the Swedes no mercy.
Monique Lamoureux led the U.S. attack with a hat-trick while Meghan Duggan, Caitlin Cahow, Angela Ruggiero, Kelli Stack, Karen Thatcher and Kerry Weiland also found the back of the net.
Pernilla Winberg had the lone Sweden goal.
“Everyone knows, but no one was saying remember (Turin),” Ruggiero told reporters. “But a consistent theme throughout these Olympics for our team because of Turin has been let’s take it one game at a time.
“We had to win four games to get here so we weren’t looking past anyone. To be honest it wasn’t our best hockey. We still have more in the tank.”
Silver medalists in Turin, Sweden will have a chance to leave Vancouver with a bronze despite being pounded 13-1 and 9-1 in their last two contests by Canada and the U.S.
The massive blowouts have once again put women’s hockey in an unwelcome spotlight because of the lack of competitiveness among the eight teams taking part in the tournament.
After Sweden made what was seen as a major breakthrough in Turin reaching the final to end the U.S.-Canada domination of the top two spots on the podium, the routs continued in Vancouver.
Canada roared into the semi-finals with three lopsided wins including an Olympic record 18-0 demolition of Slovakia in their Games opener.
The United States won the first women’s ice hockey gold medal in 1998 at the Nagano Olympics while Canada has claimed the last two in Salt Lake City and Turin.
“If any team is going to beat Canada or the U.S. they need to have the best day, the best game and their best performance of their lives,” said Sweden captain Erika Holst. “If we don’t have our best game it is tough.
“We beat Canada once and the U.S. once and those games we played out of our heads and they didn’t have their best days.
“That’s what has to happen if you want to beat them.”
Editing by Jon Bramley
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