Canada beats Finland, advances to gold medal game

After a brief absence in Torino, the United States and Canada will renew their Olympic women’s hockey rivalry in the gold medal game on Thursday.

Behind two goals by Haley Irwin, Canada defeated Sweden 5-0 to advance to the final for the fourth straight Olympic Games.

The United States had no problem disposing of Sweden 9-1, setting up another showdown between the border rivals.

Canada came out strong in the opening period, outshooting the Finns 15-2.

It took only five minutes for Canada to open the scoring as Meghan Agosta found Cherie Piper in front of the net for her fifth, to give the Canucks a quick 1-0 lead.

 Ten minutes later Irwin scored her third when she jammed a puck past Finnish goaltender Noora Raty, making it a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

Agosta, who leads the tournament in goals and points, added to her totals in the second when she found a rebound and put the puck top-shelf, giving the Canadians a 3-0 going into the final stanza.

In the third, Irwin added her fourth of the game and Caroline Ouellette scored a short-handed goal to put the game on ice.

Canada dominated play throughout the game, outshooting Finland 50-11.

Meghan Agosta, Haley Irwin, Jayna Hefford all had two points for Canada while Rebecca Johnston, Sarah Vaillancourt, Teresa Bonhomme and Marie-Philip Poulin-Nadeau had one assist.

Raty kept Finland in contention as she made 45 saves in the loss, while Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados made 11 saves for the shutout.

Canada went 0-for-6 on the power play while Finland was 0-for-5.

After Canada’s 18-0 win over Slovakia, some American players expressed frustration with the Canadian’s running up the score which only added fuel to the fire between these two teams.

Since day one the U.S. and Canada were destined to play each other and it shows in the tournament results. After three games, Canada’s goal differential was a +39 and had only allowed two goals while the U.S. was +30 and had given up one.

America has won three of the past four World Championship meetings between the countries.

Sweden vs. Finland for the bronze at 2 p.m. ET while while Canada vs. U.S.A can be seen at 6:30 E.T.