ADLER, Russia - Although Canada is up on the schedule next, nobody needed to tell players on the United States women's hockey team that they had two other opponents to face on the Olympic stage before clashing with their bitter rival.
On Monday at the Shayba Arena in Olympic Park, the U.S. buried five pucks in the first period, including three in less than a minute, on their way to a 9-0 shutout win over Switzerland. The Americans scored one more time in the middle stanza and tacked on three others to improve to 2-0 in the pool play round of the 2014 Olympics women's ice hockey tournament.
The U.S. kicked off the Olympics with a 3-1 win over Finland on Saturday, and with the first two games out of the way, the focus now turns to Wednesday's showdown against Canada, which also owns a 2-0 mark.
United States forward Monique Lamoureux tries to fight her way out of the crease between Switzerland goalie Florence Schelling and defender Laura Benz during Monday’s pool play game in Adler, Russia.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Monique Lamoureux and Kendall Coyne scored two goals apiece to lead the U.S. against the Swiss, and Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux and Alex Carpenter each scored single goals. Coyne also added a pair of assists to finish with four points.
In a dominating end-to-end-of-the-rink performance, the U.S finished with a 53-10 edge in shots on goal. Playing behind a defense that allowed Switzerland basically zero good scoring chances, Molly Schaus got the shutout victory in nets.
"I'm very happy with the way our team played today, from the end all the way out," U.S. head coach Katey Stone said. "A lot of energy, (we) moved the puck really well, got to their goaltender who's a terrific goaltender, and she had to work really hard at lot of second and third opportunities that we were able to bury. So overall, everybody was flying through the lineup, which was good for us."
After playing scoreless hockey for the first half of the opening period, the U.S. turned up the heat, starting with Monique Lamoureux's first goal 9:20 into the game. Decker then scored at the 10:07 mark, and just eight seconds later, Kessel found the back of the net to give the U.S. a 3-0 edge.
The Americans notched their next two goals in similar fashion, as Knight scored at the 14:23 mark to lift her team into a 4-0 lead. Kessel followed with a power-play tally 1:19 later.
Jocelyne Lamoureux, who had two assists, set up her sister for the lone goal of the second period, sending a pass from the back boards to Monique, who lifted a shot past Swiss netminder Florence Schelling at the 13:29 mark.
In the third period, Coyne scored twice in a row in less than four minutes, with her first coming just 49 seconds into the stanza. Coyne netted her second at the 3:59 mark, and Carpenter recorded the final goal of the game with 4:21 left on the clock.
"It's the Olympics and every moment is a huge moment and we don't want to underscore that," Stone said, noting her players weren't looking ahead to their date with the Canadians. "We want to make sure we do our very best in every moment we play and enjoy this opportunity. It's more about the process instead of the destination. If we continue to stay in the moment, we're in pretty good shape."
U.S. captain Julie Chu, who is competing in her fourth Olympics, seemed to echo her coach's thoughts.
"At the end of the day, we're here to compete every time out, and I don't think the Swiss want us to feel bad for them because they're out there battling hard every shift as well," said Chu, who finished the game with one assist. "For us, we stick to our game plan and that's what we want."
Canada 3, Finland 0
SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Megan Agosta scored to break a scoreless tie in the third period, and Jayna Hefford and Rebecca Johnston added insurance goals to lead Canada to a 3-0 victory over Finland on Monday in the Olympic women's hockey tournament.
Shannon Szabados made 14 saves to help Canada remain unbeaten and clinch a spot in the semifinals.
Two-time NCAA champion Noora Raty made 39 saves for Finland, but the University of Minnesota graduate couldn't stop Agosta's slapshot on a power play with 10:33 left in the game. Hefford made it 2-0 with 7:36 left, and then Finland got a power play but could not beat Szabados.
Canada took a 3-0 lead when Marie-Philip Poulin brought the puck in on a 2-on-1 and passed it to Johnston just outside the crease for the easy tip-in.
The victory left both Canada and the United States unbeaten heading into Wednesday's round-robin finale between the only countries to have ever won the Olympic or world championship gold medal.
By losing 3-1 to the United States and playing Canada to a scoreless tie for almost 50 minutes, Finland cemented its standing as the third-best team in the world and the favorite to win the bronze medal at the Sochi Games. The Finns play their preliminary round finale on Wednesday against Switzerland, which was not competitive in either game against the North Americans.