Hockey

Greg Hughes - Monday Feb. 17, 2014 07:44 ET

Canada gears up for Switzerland in women's hockey semifinal

Watch game at 12 p.m. ET on cbc.ca/olympics

Florence Schelling
Florence Schelling of Switzerland will have her hands full in their semi-final against Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After being shelled in the round-robin by Canada — a game that featured the Canadians pounding the Swiss with 69 shots — and losing 5-0, the second meeting between Switzerland and Canada of the Olympics has extra importance for both teams.

Watch the game live at noon eastern on CBC TV and cbc.ca/olympics. 

Team Canada is the obvious favourite to make it to the gold-medal game. Only the Americans can realistically catch the Canadians, which puts team Switzerland in a tough spot on Monday. 

For the Swiss, there should be a certain moral victory in reaching the semis — it's the country's best ever finish in women's hockey. 

After a round robin that had the Swiss facing the three best teams in the world — Canada, the United States and Finland — and going 0-3, beating Russia in the quarter-finals was a significant achievement.

Swiss goalie Florence Schelling has been the difference. After stopping 64 shots in their first match with Canada, she played exceptional against the Russians. 

Canadians rounding into form

Team Canada, meanwhile, hasn't lost an Olympic hockey game since 1998 and is coming off an emotional victory against the U.S. in the round robin.

Caroline Ouellette, team Canada's captain, feels her team is ready to go. 

"We've had a lot of meetings with our sports psychologist, talking about things we've done well, talking about things we can get better," Ouellette said. "We've rested a lot, I think at this point in the season it's about taking care of ourselves and making sure when we do the work we can give it all."

At this point, Canada's only discernible weakness — a defence that has had moments of breakdown, especially against Finland earlier in the Olympics — remains a focus, according to head coach Kevin Dineen. 

"We've been working on defensive coverage, and the team has had some good jump out there," Dineen added. 

Americans pound on the Swedes

In the other semi-final, the U.S. has advanced to the gold medal game, beating Sweden 6-1. 

In a contest that was almost all U.S. from the first puck drop, the Americans shelled the Swedes with 70 shots. 

The women's hockey gold medal game will take place on Thursday at 12 p.m. ET. Sweden will now play for the bronze medal on the same day at 7 a.m. ET.

 

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