2022 Winter Olympics Live: Medal tally and updates from the Beijing Games

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Credit…Harry Comment/Getty Images

After 26 women’s hockey games in Beijing this month, the inevitable turned into a lock on Monday: Canada and the United States will play for the gold medal.

Teams that have fought for gold at all but one Games since 1998, when women’s hockey became an Olympic sport, established their championship game by navigating semi-finals that sometimes felt more like formalities than in two main stages.

Canada had the rout of the day, a 10-3 beating of Switzerland. The United States took on Finland, who won the bronze medal at the 2018 Games, and prevailed by a much narrower margin, winning 4-1. But despite all the perpetual talk about focusing on one game and one opponent at a time, Americans and Canadians ended up where they wanted – and where virtually everyone expected.

Women’s ice hockey ›

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“It was a pretty perfect duel going into the gold medal game,” said Sarah Nurse, a forward who is on her second Canadian Olympic team. “We wanted to face adversity today, and I think the Swiss played us well.”

The dashboard showed too much evidence of this.

In a rematch of a Feb. 3 game that Canada won by 11 goals, the Canadians took about seven minutes Monday to find the net. Then it looked like they would never stop scoring.

There was a fierce shot from the face-off circle by Claire Thompson. A deflection gave Jamie Lee Rattray a chance which she took. Blayre Turnbull scored; just like Renata Fast and Erin Ambrose.

Five Canadian goals in less than four minutes.

The Swiss, having already surrendered the winning goal of the day, didn’t exactly faint. Lara Stalder put Switzerland on the scoreboard towards the end of the first period, and Alina Muller, a sensational striker who was 15 when she helped Switzerland win the bronze medal at the 2014 Games, crowned a rapidly developing game at the start of the second with a goal of its own. Stalder scored again later in the period.

The Canadians, however, had continued to score the entire time. At the end of the second it was 8-3.

Emma Maltais and Brianne Jenner added goals for Canada in the third period. The team recorded 54, the most of any team at the Beijing Games.

“Scoring like we did, that didn’t just show up at this tournament,” Jenner said. “He built and built and built for years.”

The Finns, who came close to beating the Americans for the 2019 world championship, posed a much tougher test for the United States after dark in Beijing. Although the Americans, as usual, outshot their opponents, they again struggled to turn opportunities into points.

A dozen American shots in the first period yielded no goals – the Americans took a 2-0 lead in the first when they faced Finland on February 3 – and the semi-final remained a scoreless tie. goal due to a quick goalkeeper from Alex Cavallini, who was a member of the USA team that won gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

It wasn’t until there were about 16 minutes left in the second that Cayla Barnes, who picked up the puck after Hilary Knight’s pass to Hannah Brandt, turned a quick wrist shot into a power play goal. .

Knight, who played in her 21st Olympic game on Monday, tying the American women’s hockey record, fired a shot into a scrum to give the United States a two-goal lead going into the final period.

By then, the Americans had attempted nearly three times as many shots as the Finns, who were winning more faceoffs.

In the third period, Hayley Scamurra sent a long try past the Finnish keeper to push the American lead once more.

Ice Hockey: Women’s Semi-Finals

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Finland and Switzerland will play for bronze on Wednesday; the Swiss edged the Finns, 3-2, in a game on 7 February.

Canada won a preliminary round match against the United States, 4-2, the next day. The Americans and Canadians will play the final showdown of the tournament on Thursday afternoon in Beijing.

Canadians insist they are not thinking of the 2018 Games, when the United States won gold in the shootout.

“I think we know that story, but we’re going to give ourselves a blank slate,” Jenner said. “We saw it as an opportunity to go out there and claim a gold medal rather than look at the history books and what happened.”

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