The U.S. women’s hockey team defeated Finland 3-0 in the IIHF women’s world semifinals to punch their ticket to the gold medal game.
Nicole Hensley recorded 14 saves for the U.S. in her second shutout of the tournament. Alex Carpenter, Abbey Murphy and Kendall Coyne Schofield all had goals in the win. The United States will face a familiar foe in Canada in the gold medal game. The United States is going for its sixth consecutive gold medal in the tournament.
After a scoreless first, Carpenter deflected a point shot from Lee Steicklein that got past Finnish goaltender Anni Keisala to put the U.S. up less than four minutes into the frame. Murphy doubled the lead late in the second after squeaking the puck through the legs of Keisala on a breakaway.
Finland pulled its goalie with seven minutes to go in the game in an attempt to use the man-advantage to tie the game. But it was Coyne Schofield who fired an empty net goal to seal the semifinal win for the Americans.
The United States has been downright dominant in the tournament. The shutout victory in the semifinals was the team’s fourth of the tournament. In fact, the U.S. has shut out its opponents in every game except two -- a 10-2 win over Japan and a 5-1 loss to Canada.
Once again leading the way for the U.S. is Hilary Knight, who earlier in the tournament broke Cammi Granato's U.S. points record in women's world hockey championship play. She has four goals and two assists so far in six games. Stecklein also has six points, as does Grace Zumwinkle.
It won’t be easy for the U.S., though. Canada has yet to lose in the tournament and is the only team to hand the U.S. a loss in the tournament. The Canadians defeated Switzerland 4-0 in the semifinals, with their captain Marie-Philip Poulin notching two points in her return to the lineup.
It’s a matchup between two very familiar programs. There was no tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 2019 gold medal game was the first time in IIHF women’s world championship history that it did not feature both the U.S. and Canada. Canada had lost to Finland in the semifinals, the team that the U.S. beat to win the tournament.
Canada has won the most gold medals at the IIHF women’s world championship with 10. If the United States can come out victorious this year, the Americans will also have 10 gold medals.
The gold medal game is set for Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET at the WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.