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Canada, USA set up Olympic women’s hockey final

Canada, USA set up Olympic women’s hockey final

Four-time defending champion Canada and reigning world champion United States advanced to the Pyeongchang Olympic women’s hockey final with shutout triumphs today, setting up another showdown for gold between the arch-rivals.

The Canadians stretched their Olympic win streak to 24 games and kept alive their drive for five consecutive gold medals by beating the Olympic Athletes from Russia 5-0. The US women, who haven’t won Olympic gold in 20 years, blanked Finland 5-0 to reach Thursday’s title game.

“It’s honestly a dream come true,” US forward Hilary Knight said. “It’s the world’s biggest stage. It’s the game you’ve been dreaming of. You have to keep working and do the things you do well.”

Only once in Olympic or world championship history has the final not been a US-Canada affair.

Canada needed overtime to beat the Americans in the 2014 Olympic final, but has since dropped three world finals to the Americans.

“We’re confident. We’ll stick with what has gotten us success the last three years,” US forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We’ll enjoy this. It’s what we came here and worked hard for, to put ourselves in position for a gold medal.”

Canada’s Jennifer Wakefield scored 1:50 into the semi-final and Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin netted a backhand 3:10 into the second period to make it 2-0.

Wakefield struck again 1:59 into the third and Emily Clark followed 31 seconds later for a 4-0 Canada lead, and Rebecca Johnston added another with 5:52 remaining. Shannon Szabados made 14 saves in the shutout.

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