12:00 PM ET, February 17, 2014
Canada stops Switzerland to reach women's final
SOCHI, Russia -- Natalie Spooner scored twice and Shannon Szabados stopped 21 shots to help Canada beat Switzerland 3-1 on Monday as the three-time defending gold medalists advanced to the women's hockey final for the fifth consecutive Olympics.
"We feel like we've prepared all year for this game," said Spooner, referring to the gold medal game against the Americans, who routed Sweden 6-1. The final is Thursday at noon ET.
Melodie Daoust also scored for Canada. The North American neighbors have met for three of the previous four Olympic championships since women's hockey was added to the Winter Games in 1998.
Canada holds a 3-1 edge in gold-medal games, and it also beat the U.S. in the round-robin of the Sochi Games on Wednesday.
Florence Schelling, who went to Northeastern University in Boston, made 45 saves for Switzerland. The Swiss will play Sweden on Thursday for the bronze medal.
"I think for us, it was a great game," said Swiss coach Rene Kammerer, who described himself as "happy to be disappointed."
"Months ago, if we lose to Canada just 3-1, it would be a great game for us," he said. "I'm disappointed to lose. But, hey, it's Canada, one of the best teams in the world, and we know it."
Spooner scored 7:29 into the game after circling behind the net, putting a high wrist shot just beyond the reach of Schelling's glove. She made it 2-0 on a power play less than four minutes later, and Daoust needed just 23 seconds after that to give Canada a 3-0 lead.
Jessica Lutz scored for Switzerland 5:14 into the second period to make it a two-goal game, and Szabados needed several good saves to keep if from getting any closer.
Canada and the United States have won every Olympic women's hockey gold medal, and all but one silver.
"We've played a lot of great games against them," Spooner said. "It's going to be another one of those in the final."