U.S., Canada headed for women’s hockey showdown


Canada did its part to set up a gold-medal showdown between women’s hockey powerhouses.

The United States and Canada have been on a collision course since the pairings were announced long before the start of the 2010 Winter Games.

Both teams plowed through their groups, with the U.S. reaching Thursday’s gold-medal game with a 9-1 victory over Sweden in Monday’s first semifinal.

Canada followed suit with a 5-0 win over Finland to continue its quest for its third consecutive gold. The U.S and Canada will meet in the gold-medal contest for the third time in the last four Olympics.

The Canadians got first-period goals from Cherie Piper and Haley Irwin, one by Meghan Agosta in the second and Irwin and Caroline Ouellette in the third. Only stellar play by Swedish goaltender Noora Raty (45 saves) prevented Canada from its fourth blowout in as many games.

Shannon Szabados earned the shutout in goal for Canada.

The U.S defeated Canada to win the inaugural Olympic tournament in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and Canada turned the tables in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Canada won gold again in ’06 against Sweden in Turin, Italy, while the U.S. took bronze.