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Olympic Hockey 2018: USA vs. Canada Gold-Medal Game Set After Semifinal Results

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2018

Marie-Philip Poulin (29), of Canada, celebrates with her teammates after scoring a goal against the team from Russia during the second period of the semifinal round of the women's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

For the fifth time in the six Olympics that have included women's hockey, the United States and Canada will meet for the gold medal.

On Sunday (Monday in South Korea) at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Team USA shut out Finland 5-0 in the first semifinal, and Canada then scored a 5-0 win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Monday.

Canada beat the United States 2-1 when the teams met in the group stage, and the Canadians have beaten the Americans for gold in each of the past two Olympics.

Before Team USA takes its shot at redemption, here is a look at how the United States and Canada qualified for the gold-medal game.

    

USA 5, Finland 0

The United States dominated Finland from start to finish en route to clinching at least a silver medal.

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The Americans scored two goals in each of the first two periods before Dani Cameranesi's second marker put the game away in the third.

Gigi Marvin opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game, as seen in this video courtesy of NBC Olympics:

NBC Olympics @NBCOlympics

Leave it to the veteran to open the scoring! @gigimarvin buries one to put @usahockey up early. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/J3122EbvvD https://t.co/KzXLozkxx3

Cameranesi added another goal with just over one minute remaining in the first period, and Finland never threatened.

The Americans peppered the Finns with 38 shots and allowed only 14. Finland's Noora Raty is the winningest goaltender in Olympic history, but she received little support from her teammates.

Meanwhile, United States goalie Maddie Rooney stonewalled the opposition.

Tim McNiff of KARE 11 believes the Americans are hitting their stride at the perfect time:

Tim McNiff @TimMcNiff1

Just watched the @TeamUSA women’s hockey team beat Finland 5-0 to earn a spot in the Gold Medal game. The American women are playing their best hockey of the tournament right now, putting Team USA right where they want to be heading into the championship game. https://t.co/CaNo5JmgaO

After the win, Marvin and Hilary Knight discussed where the U.S. stands and how things are shaping up, per USA Hockey on Twitter:

USA Hockey @usahockey

Forwards @GigiMarvin & @HilaryKnight discuss today's semifinal win over Finland at the #WinterOlympics. #GoTeamUSA Game recap: https://t.co/PTEsgUqNwS https://t.co/jtO4Ej471e

While the Americans fell to the Canadians in their first meeting at these Olympics, Team USA carried the play for much of that game. The United States outshot Canada 45-23, and it took a superhuman effort by Canadian goalie Genevieve Lacasse to preserve the win.

Losing a game in that manner can be demoralizing, but the Americans showed no ill effects in the semifinals, and they seem well prepared to make a run at their first Olympic gold medal since the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

    

Canada 5, Olympic Athletes from Russia 0

Canada outclassed the Olympic Athletes from Russia to punch its ticket to the gold-medal game.

The Canadians led just 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 after the second, but they took control of the game in the third and squashed any hopes of a Russian comeback.

Canada outshot OAR 47-14 with 22 of those attempts coming in the third period.

With Team Canada buzzing throughout the third frame, Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show had a simplistic take on the game:

Paul Pabst @PaulPabst

Canada hockey is housing OAR.

OAR had hope entering the third period, but Canada needed only a few minutes to put the game out of reach. Jennifer Wakefield scored her second goal of the contest less than two minutes into the third period, and Emily Clark notched a goal just 31 seconds later.

As the CBC's Andrew Foote pointed out, Canada essentially ended the game in the blink of an eye:

Andrew Foote @amkfoote

In the time it took for the Canadian bobsled run (not much time) Canada's women's team scored twice on OAR. It's 4-0.

Team Canada has overwhelmed its opponents with quick-strike scoring thanks to depth and talent at all levels. That wasn't the case against Team USA, though, and the final is shaping up to be a classic between the evenly matched teams.

Canada will have the chance to win its fifth consecutive gold medal, while the United States could end a 20-year drought. The teams mirrored each other in their semifinal matchups, and there is reason to believe their clash for gold late Wednesday night (Thursday in South Korea) will come down to the wire just like it did four years ago in Sochi, Russia, where the Canadiens staged a late two-goal comeback and won 3-2 in overtime.

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