Since the beginning of the tournament, the Women’s Ice Hockey discipline at the Sochi games has been predictable. After the United States’ assertive 6-1 victory over Team Sweden yesterday, the final match-up we all saw coming was made official. Canada and Team USA will rematch for gold.
Other keyboards will continue to tell the tale of the disparity in women’s hockey. This particular game only confirmed what many have been shouting. The shot count of the opening period was a staggering 29-1 in favor of the Americans, and only got slightly less lopsided in subsequent stanzas. Team USA completely dominated the entire game, scoring 3 goals in the first, two of which came in a span of 66 seconds. Alex Carpenter opened the scoring at 6:10 from a feed off Kelli Stack on the power play. Then Kacey Bellamy capitalized on some pressure in Sweden’s zone at 7:16 to extend the lead to 2-0. Hilary Knight would draw Team Sweden’s third penalty of the game, and though the Americans would not score on the man advantage, Amanda Kessel netted USA’s third goal a mere 2 seconds after Sweden killed the penalty.
The second period did not look much better for Sweden. Monique Lamoureux lit up the lamp for Team USA’s fourth goal, on the power play, at 5:41. A goal by Megan Bozek would give the US women a commanding 5-0 lead at 12:17, and lead to Sweden’s Valentina Wallner to be replaced by Kim Martin Hasson at 12:31. Martin Hasson was part of the 2006 Sweden team that upset Team USA that year, the first time the Americans were ever defeated at the international stage by a team not named Canada.
Had the game not gotten so out of hand by this point, the last period would have been an interesting one. Sweden finally got on the board over halfway through the third. Jessie Vetter worked harder than she had yet in the game to deny a wraparound stuff attempt by Erica Uden-Johansson, only to be scored on moments later from a shot by Emma Eliasson that got deflected in by Anna Borgqvist at 13:04. A minute and a half later, Jocelyne Lamoureux was taken down in front of the net as she came in on a breakaway and the Americans were awarded a penalty shot. Unlike the NHL, IIHF allows a team to select any player to take the penalty shot, as opposed to the athlete who drew the penalty. Head coach Katey Stone went with Jocelyne Lamoureux anyway, and though she made a brilliant spin-o-rama move, she was not able to fool Martin Hasson. An unfortunate own-goal by Team Sweden would seal their fates at 16:58, as Brianna Decker fired a shot off the crossbar that would bounce off a Swedish defender’s skate and into the net to clinch the Americans’ 6-1 victory. Team USA would triumph in the shot count by an overwhelming 70-9.
The U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team have a few days off before they face Team Canada in the gold-medal game on Thursday at 12:00 PM EST. It is the team they expected and hoped to face all along, and there is no doubt they will want vengeance for both their 2010 gold-medal match, and the preliminary game they lost to the Canadians just 5 days ago.