Sochi 2014: Women's Hockey USA vs. Switzerland Live Blog

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Sochi 2014: Women's Hockey USA vs. Switzerland Live Blog
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It's the calm before the storm in Group A of the women's hockey tournament in Sochi.

Team USA and Canada can each book a place in the semifinals with victories today against Switzerland and Finland respectively.

That will essentially render Wednesday's clash between the two superpowers meaningless in terms of who qualifies, but it will of course play a decisive role in determining which country wins the group and therefore has an easier road to the gold medal game.

Team USA is coming off a convincing 3-1 victory over Finland in its opening contest. The win was much more comfortable than the scorelines suggests, with Team USA putting 43 shots on goal to Finland's 15.

Hilary Knight put Team USA on the board 53 seconds into the first period and Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter added goals in the middle of the second to put the result beyond doubt. Susanna Tapani grabbed a power-play goal in the closing seconds to ruin Jesse Vetter's shutout, but that will do little to bruise Team USA's collective confidence heading into today's contest.

The marquee matchup against Canada was always the main attraction of the group stage, with only Finlandbronze medal winners four years agopresenting a potential, if improbable, stumbling block.

Having passed that test with ease, Team USA should have little trouble routing Switzerland today.

The Swiss were never expected to slow down Canada on Saturday, and the 5-0 defeat was about the best they deserved.

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