Canada tops Swiss, rematch with USA on tap

The Sports NetworkFebruary 17, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Natalie Spooner scored twice and Hayley Wickenheiser added a pair of assists, as Canada gained its fifth straight gold-medal contest by topping Switzerland, 3-1, on Monday.

Melodie Daoust also lit the lamp for the Canadians, who look to win their fourth straight Olympic title in yet another rematch with Team USA on Thursday.

The Americans cruised into the final thanks to a 6-1 rout of Sweden in the earlier semifinal, but have fallen short twice against their northern neighbors (2002, 2010) since winning it all in Nagano 16 years ago.

Shannon Szabados had her long shutout streak ended, but picked up the win thanks to 21 saves.

Jessica Lutz provided the sole offense for the Swiss, who reached the medal round for the first time and will take on the Swedes for bronze.

Florence Schelling played well in defeat, making 45 stops, including 36 in a row to end the contest.

The Northeastern product made 22 saves during the second period to keep Switzerland's deficit at 3-1 after 40 minutes of play, then received help to keep it a two-goal margin from an overzealous Canadian forward.

Canada's fourth goal of the contest was wiped out as the clock approached the eight-minute mark of the third. Although the disc somehow found the back of the net in a goalmouth scramble, officials negated the tally by ruling Schelling was run into by Meghan Agosta-Marciano on the scoring chance.

Spooner later hit the post on a breakaway, and the rest of her teammates couldn't solve Schelling and create some distance with 10 shots in the final stanza.

Switzerland can take solace in the fact that it will post its highest-ever ranking in the Olympics, win or lose, three days from now. The landlocked nation placed fifth in Vancouver four years ago.

Spooner opened the scoring at 7:29 of the first, swooping from the right wing to the left and firing a high shot just under the crossbar from the inner edge of the near circle.

Spooner later caused a 5-on-3 goal to be disallowed due to a crease violation, but seconds afterward, provided a legal screen and a tip of Wickenheiser's blast during the ensuing 5-on-4 edge at 11:10.

It was 3-0 just 23 seconds later on a Daoust marker, but Schelling was perfect from there.

Lutz put her nation on the board, sliding a loose puck home on a power play with 5:14 gone in the second frame.

Swiss forward Laura Benz left the contest briefly after the midway point of the period, after taking a hard check from Canada's Gillian Apps.

On the resulting advantage Szabados robbed Alina Muller in front with a glove stop to keep the lead at two.

Schelling did the same inside of three minutes left to deny an open chance from the right side by Marie-Philip Poulin, then kicked out her pads to stop a hat-trick bid from Spooner a minute later.

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