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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

U.S. women skate to hockey finale

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Angela Ruggiero launched a wrist shot over Kim Martin's too-late glove and gratefully raised her hands to the roof, finally certain her U.S. women's hockey team wouldn't allow another Swedish surprise at the Olympics.

Monique Lamoureux scored three goals, Jessie Vetter made 11 saves and the Americans rolled into the gold-medal match with a 9-1 semifinal victory over Sweden yesterday.

Caitlin Cahow, Karen Thatcher and Kelli Stack each had a goal and an assist as the Americans avenged their 2006 semifinal shootout loss to Sweden, the biggest upset in Olympic history and a sore spot for the six returning members of that bronze-medal team.

"It was the same team, same semifinal game, but the similarities end there," said Ruggiero, the four-time Olympian.

"Everyone knows. No one was saying, 'Remember, remember.' "

The Americans jumped out to another 2-0 lead at Canada Hockey Place, just as they did in Turin. That's when Ruggiero skated in on Martin and beat the standout Swedish goalie cleanly, scoring on exactly the type of shot Martin repeatedly stopped with style four years ago.

"Obviously, what happened in 2006 was disappointing to everybody with USA Hockey," U.S. coach Mark Johnson said. "We've talked about when you get the opportunity, to be ready. Today was a big hurdle to get across."

The rematch was a comprehensive thrashing of the Swedes and Martin, who came nowhere close to her 37-save performance in Turin. She again made 37 saves the exact number she made four years ago but the ones that got away were more numerous and more glaring.

"To beat them, you need the lucky bounces and excellent goaltending," Sweden coach Peter Elander said. "Today we didn't get any lucky bounces, and we let in some soft goals."

Canada advanced to the finals with a 4-0 win over Finland. Meghan Agosta set an Olympics record with her ninth goal and Canada upped its margin of victory for the tournament to 46-2.