In an exciting semifinals women’s ice hockey matchup at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Team Canada defeated Team Switzerland by a score of 3-1 on Monday at the Shayba Arena.
The Canadians earned a place in the gold-medal game against Team USA after the Americans were able to defeat Team Sweden, 6-1, earlier in the day. The gold-medal battle between Team Canada and Team USA is the ideal culmination of the women’s ice hockey tournament and the matchup many fans always wanted to see.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin commented on what fans must do to watch the game:
Tell your boss you're taking an extra long lunch Thursday. USA-Canada for gold in women's hockey is must-watch television.— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) February 17, 2014
The first period started fast for Team Canada, racking up three goals in the first 11:33 of the contest. Forward Natalie Spooner added the first two goals for her team and Melodie Daoust added the third goal.
The Canadians amassed 16 shots in the first period as opposed to Switzerland’s six total shots, and the team continued that dominance in the second period with 22 shots compared to the Swiss’ seven.
The main difference in the second period was Switzerland’s goaltender Florence Schelling. Despite the team being utterly dismantled in the offensive and defensive ends at times, the veteran netminder racked up saves at key moments.
Swiss star Jessica Lutz also added a goal to make the score 3-1 and keep the third period interesting.
Following the same vein as the second period, the third was a hard-fought defensive battle that was highlighted by the elite play of Schelling. Canada went on to outshoot the Swiss 48-22 during this matchup.
Canadian forward Gillian Apps told Chris Stevenson of The Toronto Sun about her team’s focus against Switzerland and moving forward:
In the semifinals of an Olympic tournament, you never want to underestimate your opponent. For us, it's just really important to try and put together a full 60 minutes. I don't think we've done that yet in the tournament. That's a huge thing for us and if we can do that tonight, I think we'll be feeling a bit better about going into the final if we win.
Now that Team Canada has secured its place in the gold-medal game on Thursday at Noon ET against the United States, the anticipation over the rematch from group play will have the hockey world buzzing.
Everyone wants to see if Team USA will avenge its loss or if Canada can yet again take home women’s gold. The Americans lost 3-2 to the Canadians in the preliminary stage and will be looking for a win in an even more important matchup.
Who will win the gold-medal game?
As for Switzerland, the team will go on to play Sweden in the bronze-medal matchup on Thursday at 7 a.m. ET. Both teams lost in the semifinals, but each possesses the raw talent and depth to make this an ideal third-place battle.
With the perfect gold-medal matchup between Team USA and Team Canada and an intriguing bronze-medal matchup between the Swiss and Sweden, the women’s tournament is living up to the expectations and hype many fans put upon it prior to the start of the Winter Games.
Updated Medal Standings