Semifinals up next for US, Canada women’s hockey
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — U.S. women’s hockey coach Katey Stone said she won’t bother talking to her players about the time Sweden upset the Americans in the Turin Olympics.
“Some of these kids are too young,” she said after an off-day practice for Monday’s semifinal matchup against Sweden. “It’s totally different now.”
The United States and Canada have completely dominated women’s hockey since the world championships were first contested in 1990. The North Americans have met in the final at worlds every year — claiming every gold and silver medal — and every Olympics since the sport was added to the Winter Games in 1998.
Except one: when Sweden beat the U.S. in Turin in 2006.
“It was devastating for the United States to see them go down in that game,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said. “We don’t want any repeats of that.”
Only one member of the United States team was on the team that won the bronze medal in 2006: Forward Julie Chu, who has played in every Olympics since Salt Lake City. Chu skipped practice on Sunday because of a hand injury that forced her to leave Saturday’s skate.
She was unavailable for comment, but Stone said the injury was not serious and Chu was expected to play in the semifinal.
“Everybody that’s a four-time Olympian got the day off today,” Stone said.
Stone said that Jesse Vetter, who beat Finland but lost to Canada in the round-robin, will be in goal when the U.S. plays Sweden in the first semifinal. Canada, which swept through the opening round, including a 3-2 victory over the U.S., will take on Switzerland in the late game.
The North American teams earned a bye into the semifinals as the top two seeds after the preliminary round. Switzerland lost its first three games, but reached the final four with a victory over Russia in the quarterfinals. Sweden advanced from the quarters by upsetting defending bronze medalist Finland.
“It’s not what people expected it to be, playing against Sweden,” U.S. forward Lyndsey Fry said, “but I’m pumped.”
Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jgolen .