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Canada beats Switzerland, sets up battle with U.S. for women’s hockey gold

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Women

Natalie Spooner of Canada, left, celebrates her goal against Switzerland with goalkeeper Shannon Szabados during the first period of the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s semifinal ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mark Humphrey

A three-goal first period in today’s semifinal against Switzerland helped send Team Canada into yet another women’s hockey gold medal matchup with the U.S. at the Winter Olympics.

It wasn’t a runaway for the Canadian women, who have won the last three Olympic hockey titles. But they got the job done, thanks to Natalie Spooner’s two goals that came within four minutes of each other (both of which had Hayley Wickenheiser assisting) and a third insurance goal from Melodie Daoust that came 23 seconds after Spooner’s second tally.

MORE: U.S. tops Sweden for berth in women’s hockey gold medal game

Jessica Lutz‘s goal early in the second period got the Swiss within 3-1, but they wouldn’t get any closer than that. They’ll now play Sweden for the bronze on Thursday as the undercard to the fourth Canada-U.S. gold medal tilt in five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments.

VIDEO: Highlights from Canada’s win

Last week in round-robin play, the Canadians held off a late American rally to win, 3-2.

Canada 3, Switzerland 1

Scoring Summary
First Period
CAN 1, SUI 0 - Natalie Spooner (Hayley Wickenheiser), 7:29
CAN 2, SUI 0 - Natalie Spooner (Catherine Ward, Hayley Wickenheiser), 11:10
CAN 3, SUI 0 - Melodie Daoust (Jennifer Wakefield), 11:33

Second Period
CAN 3, SUI 1 - Jessica Lutz (Sara Benz, Laura Benz), 5:14

CAN - Shannon Szabados, 21 saves on 22 shots
SUI - Florence Schelling, 45 saves on 48 shots

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