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U.S. women wanted no part of a hockey upset

Mark Johnson knows a little something about upsets.

The coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team was a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” men’s team that shocked the Soviet Union. On the 30th anniversary of that game, Johnson was determined not to let something similar happen when the American women played Sweden on Monday in the semifinals of the 2010 Winter Games.

Johnson didn’t have to worry for long as his team rolled to a 9-1 win over the underdog Swedes at Canada Hockey Place to advance to Thursday’s gold-medal game against Canada, a 5-0 winner over Finland in the other semifinal.

The victory also avenged Sweden’s upset of the U.S. women in the semifinals of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, that denied the Americans a chance to play for the gold.

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Monique Lamoureux scored three goals, including the first of the game, as the teams played even for much of the opening period. Six other U.S. players found the net in support of goaltender Jessie Vetter, who picked up her third victory of the tournament.

“We came in prepared and ready for Sweden,” said Vetter, who made 11 saves and yielded her first goal of the tournament when Sweden scored on the power play in the second. “We knew that they’re a great team. We just came in and worked hard and tried to play a full 60 minutes, and I think we did that. We put ourselves in position to be in the gold-medal game and we’re excited about that.”

The U.S. was in control throughout as it continued its march toward the gold and a showdown with its chief rival, Canada.

“It was kind of the same situation, a little déjà vu,” said captain Natalie Darwitz, a member of the 2006 team. “We were in the same situation four years ago. We have such a young team and 15 players weren’t there, [so] I don’t think it was a huge motivating factor. . . . We [wanted] the opportunity to be in the gold-medal game and we worked so hard for this.”

Caitlin Cahow, Meghan Duggan, Kelli Stack, Kerry Weiland, Karen Thatcher and Angela Ruggiero also scored for the U.S., which outshot Sweden, 37-12.

“I wouldn’t call it revenge,” said Ruggiero, who also played for the Americans in ’06. “We’re just proud of ourselves that we were able to win, and so decisively. To be honest, we still have more in the tank. I don’t think that was our best hockey.”

ckuc@tribune.com


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