U.S. steamrolls to title game 

Americans avenge loss to Sweden in Torino with rout in semifinal

No one associated with the United States women's hockey team has forgotten that dreadful day in Torino in 2006.

The Americans, who had never lost a meaningful game to a team other than Canada in international competition, outshot underdog Sweden 39-17. But they couldn't push the puck past goalie Kim Martin. And in hockey, that's all that matters.

A 3-2 shootout loss left the United States stunned and -- three days later -- with a bronze medal. On Monday afternoon in Vancouver the Americans exacted retribution four years in the making when they crushed Sweden in the semifinals, 9-1.

UP NEXT
U.S. vs. Canada

What » Gold-medal game
When » Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Where » Canada Hockey Place
TV » MSNBC

Monique Lamoureux recorded a hat trick and goalie Jesse Vetter needed to make just 11 saves as the United States cruised into the gold-medal game for the third time since women's hockey became an official Olympic sport at the Nagano Games in 1998.

Waiting for them there -- as always -- is Canada, which defeated Finland in the other semifinal. It is the third time the two rivals have played for a gold medal at the Olympics. The American won, 3-1, in Nagano and Canada repaid the favor by that same score in Salt Lake City in 2002. Neither Scandinavian country had a chance this time around. The United States has outscored its four opponents in this competition 40-2.

"We've been working for a number of years to be in this position," said Team USA coach Mark Johnson, a member of the 1980 men's Olympic hockey team that beat the Soviet Union 30 years ago to the day. "We're very excited about the opportunity to play in the gold-medal game. It's been a long journey."

Lamoureux's hat trick was the third of the tournament for Team USA -- the previous two by forward Jenny Potter in back-to-back games against China and Russia. The Americans cashed in three times on five power-play chances. Defenseman Angela Ruggiero notched her third goal of the tournament and was one of nine United States players to register at least two points.

"We made sure we took care of business today and we don't look past anyone, whether in the preliminaries [or] until the seeds in the playoffs," said Team USA defenseman Kerry Weiland. "It's in our minds to send a message and make sure everyone in the world knew that we're a different team now and we'll take it all the way."

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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Brian McNally

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I've been given the chance to write about some of the best athletes in the world. Can't imagine a job more fun than that.
Teams I cover » Capitals, Nationals
Follow me on Twitter @bmcnally14

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