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To absolutely no one's surprise, the United States and Canada will face off for the gold medal at the IIHF Women's World Championships after winning their respective semifinal matchups. Finland and Switzerland will play for bronze, marking the first time since 2012 that the Swiss will finish in the top four.
This will be the 19th time (in 20 tournaments) that the Americans and Canadians will meet in the gold medal game. The lone exclusion was 2019, when the U.S. beat Finland in the gold medal game and Canada finished third.
Here's what you may have missed in Monday's semifinal games.
United States 3, Finland 0
The Americans started off sharp, outshooting the Finns by a 15-4 margin in the opening twenty minutes of play. Finland had its best chance just 8:38 in, when both Jesse Compher and Hayley Scamurra found themselves in the penalty box, sending their opponent to a full, two-minute 5-on-3 opportunity – which they were unable to capitalize on.
Alex Carpenter opened the scoring for the US 3:23 into the second period, deflecting on a point shot from Lee Stecklein. The Americans dominated once again in the middle frame, with a number of dangerous shots around the net. Abbey Murphy doubled the lead with a shot from right in front that went through goaltender Anni Keisala's legs and into the net.
Although the Finns had another advantage with under ten minutes to play in regulation and pulled their netminder a handful of times, they were ultimately stifled by the Americans. Kendall Coyne Schofield eventually potted an empty-netter with less than three minutes remaining to seal the victory.
Nicole Hensley stopped all 14 shots she faced in the 3-0 win, while Keisala had a strong performance for Finland with 30 saves on 32 shots faced in 56:30.
The win was the Americans' fourth shutout of the tournament.
Canada 4, Switzerland 0
The Canadians continued their dominance through the semifinal game; they haven't lost yet at the 2021 Worlds, and will look to extend their unbeaten streak for one more game as they aim for gold following a 4-0 win over Switzerland.
Monday night's game was still in its infancy when Renata Fast scored off a tap-in of a shot from Brianne Jenner, only 5:14 into the game. Just as quickly, Melodie Daoust made it a 2-0 game less than two minutes later on a redirect in front of the net.
Daoust added a power-play tally in the second period, increasing Canada's lead as they held strong and severely limited Switzerland's opportunities. (Seriously... just look at the shot chart. Or if you're a Swiss fan – don't. It will hurt.) Rebecca Johnston also scored late in regulation.
Ann-Renée Desbiens needed to make only eight saves through the opening forty minutes of play, and two more in the final period. To her credit, Andrea Brändli stopped 60 of 64 shots faced as she attempted to keep her team in the game against a fiercely strong Canada team.
Finland and Switzerland will meet in Tuesday afternoon's bronze medal game, with puck drop scheduled for 3:30 PM Eastern. In the preliminary round of the tournament, Finland beat Switzerland handily 6-0 on August 26.
Regardless of the result, this will mark the third time in Worlds history that Switzerland finishes in the top four; they won the bronze in 2012 and finished fourth in 2008. Finland has finished in the top three in three of the last four tournaments.
On Tuesday evening, Canada and the United States will face off for the gold. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM Eastern. Canada's last gold medal came in 2012, while the United State has won eight of nine gold medals since 2008.
Canada topped the United States 5-1 in their preliminary round meeting on August 26. It was the Americans' only loss of the tournament to date, but it was just as decisive as their wins have been.
Both of the medal games will be televised on TSN in Canada and NHL Network in the United States. Russia and Japan will also square off in a non-televised placement game to determine the fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the tournament.
Filed under: 2021 iihf women's world championship; iihf women's world championships; team canada; team finland; team switzerland; team usa; ice hockey
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