SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The United States and Canada clinched spots in the Olympic women's hockey semifinals Monday, remaining unbeaten through their first two games of pool play.
And Finland cemented its standing as the favorite to win the bronze medal.
The U.S. beat Switzerland 9-0 — the biggest hockey blowout so far in the Sochi Games. Then Canada needed 50 minutes to beat Finland goalie Noora Raty, a two-time NCAA champion at Minnesota.
"I've never seen them celebrate as much as they celebrated that first goal," Raty said after Canada won 3-0. "That showed they were probably getting frustrated. We have never beaten Canada in our history, but this showed we are maybe closing the gap."
Megan Agosta scored on a power play with 10:33 left in the third period, and Jayna Hefford and Rebecca Johnston added insurance goals for Canada. The two North American countries — the only ones ever to have won an Olympic or world championship gold medal — will play each other in the round-robin finale on Wednesday.
Raty made 39 saves for Finland but Agosta's score was followed by a Hefford goal to make it 2-0 about three minutes later. Canada took a 3-0 lead when Marie-Philip Poulin brought the puck in on a 2-on-1 and passed it to Johnston just outside the crease for the easy tip-in.
"We played really well for 50 minutes. We were not really troubled. Then we ran out of gas," said Raty, who made 58 saves to beat the Americans in a tournament in November but lost to them 3-1 in the Olympic opener. "When you play against Canada and the U.S., we have to play for 60 minutes and you can't make any mistakes."