Friday, February 17, 2006

Women's Olympic Hockey Semi-Finals

After the conclusion of the round robin, the women's Olympic hockey tournament played its semi-finals today. Here are the results:

Sweden 3 USA 2 (Shoot Out) It was a hard fought game where USA took a 2-0 lead on goals by Kristin King and Kelly Stephens. Sweden responded with two Maria Rooth goals to tie it up. It remained tied and the end of regulation and at the end of overtime. The game went to a shootout. A shootout is an awful way to decide a hockey game, but due to time constraints in the Olympics it may be necessary. Nevertheless, hopefully some US fans (to whom the shootout is marketed) will have a chance to see how unfulfilling a shootout is to end a hockey game, when one is played in a high profile game such as this. Nineteen year old Kim Martin of Sweden played a strong game stopping 37 of 39 shots. She also stopped all the US shooters in the shootout. Pernilla Winberg and Maria Rooth scored in the shootout for Sweden. So Sweden wins. It is the first time ever in international play that the US women lost to anyone other than Canada. This result is good for women's hockey because it shows that it is more than just a two team game.

Canada 6 Finland 0 Finland played the powerhouse Canadian team as hard as they could. Canada outpowered the Finnish team. Canada's offensive leaders were Cherie Piper who scored twice, Gillian Apps who had a goal and three assists and Hayley Wickenheiser who has a goal and two assists. Charline LaBonte made 17 saves for her second shutpuit of the tournament. Canada has dominated. They have won their games by a combined score of 42-1 so far.

On Monday, Canada meets Sweden in the gold-silver game. They already played in the round robin with Canada winning 8-1. USA meets Finland in the bronze-4th game. They also already played in the round robin. USA won 7-3, although the game was much closer than that score would suggest.

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