Critical Americans outscore the Swedes 9-1

Monique Lamoureux started and finished the game with a goal, and added another in between for a hat-trick performance in the U.S. women’s hockey team victory 9-1 over Sweden on Monday at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

This American blowout came right after Natalie Darwitz, captain of the U.S. team, mentioned that she wasn’t pleased with the way Canada was slaughtering their opponents, because the sport could be in danger with the International Olympic Committee of being banished for lack of global competition, the same way softball was.

“It very well could be,” Darwitz told “Softball was a two or three-team tournament, too. I hope not though. This is all we have. This is our Stanley Cup.”

The Americans have outscored their opponents 40-2 so far in the tournament, and move into the final round with four wins under their belts. Their likely opponent is Canada, the target of their criticism and biggest rival.

Lamoureux brought her tournament points total to 10, with three goals in the game. Meghan Duggan, Angela Ruggiero, Caitlin Cahow, Karen Thatcher, Kerry Weiland and Kelli Stack also scored goals for the U.S. team.

The lone goal for Sweden came from Pernilla Winberg, with an assist on the play from Isabelle Jordansson.

This semifinal matchup was a familiar one for the Swedish and American teams, but ended in a very different fashion than the last time they met at the Olympics.

In the Torino 2006 semifinal round, the Swedes defeated the Americans 3-2 in shootouts.

Kim Martin, the Swedish goaltender, made 37 saves in the defeat over the U.S. team in Turin, and made the exact same number of stops on Monday in Vancouver, but it wasn’t enough this time around.

The Americans outshot the Swedes 46-12, and scored on three of their five power-play opportunities. Sweden was only able to score on one of their four chances. Jessie Vetter was in net for the U.S. team.

Sweden’s upset at the Turin Games is its only win over the U.S. team in their history of Olympic and world championship play.

The U.S. team has won the last two world championships, but will face their toughest test in the final, inevitably against the Canadian team.