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Canada soars to seventh straight appearance in gold medal game

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Having opened the Beijing Olympics with a double digit win versus Switzerland in Group A competition, the undefeated Canadian contingent duplicated its offensive prowess in the semifinals. Prevailing by a 10-3 mark over Switzerland, Canada also maintained its standing as the highest scoring team in the Olympics.

With five Canadian goals in the first period, the game was already out of reach for an overmatched Switzerland. Claire Thompson, the leading scorer among all blueliners in Beijing opened the scoring at the 7:16 mark, with Rebecca Johnston earning the assist.

Following Thompson’s goal, four different Canadians added  their names to the scoresheet. Jamie Lee Rattray, Blayre Turnbull, Renata Fast and Erin  Ambrose supplied a strong Canadian team with a 5-0 advantage. As a side note, Rattray, Fast and Ambrose all played for Clarkson University.

With 10 Canadian players logging at least one point in the first, any hope of a shutout was spoiled. Having recorded a Canadian Olympic record 51 saves versus the United States, Ann-Renee Desbiens gained the start for Canada.

Before the period expired, one that saw Canada record an astounding 28 shots on goal, Lara Stalder, the 2019-20 SDHL Forward of the Year, found the back of the net.

The second period saw Switzerland trim the Canadian lead. Appearing in her third Olympics, Alina Muller, the leading scorer for the Swiss in Beijing, scored at the 4:59 mark, with Stalder recording the assist.

Canada replied with a pair of goals from team captain Marie-Philip Poulin and Emily Clark, scored 11 seconds apart. Despite the 7-2 lead, Switzerland remained determined. 

With Laura Stacey serving a tripping penalty, Switzerland capitalized. Supplying the offense once again, Stalder scored unassisted for her third point of the game.

Before the period expired, Poulin placed her name on the scoresheet once again. Enjoying an 8-3 lead, it marked Poulin’s first multi goal game in Beijing.

Third period goals by Emma Maltais and Brianne Jenner erased any hopes of a Swiss comeback. In a period that saw the Swiss muster only one shot on net, they were outshot by an overall margin of 61-13. 

A total of 15 Canadian skaters logged at least one point in the victory. Leading the way with four points, all assists, was Sarah Collier, while Johnston and Thompson each logged three points. Poulin won 13 faceoffs for Canada while Desbiens required only 10 saves. 

Saskia Maurer, who replaced Andrea Braendli following Canada’s fourth-quarter goal, had a game-high 37 saves. With the loss, Switzerland shall play the losing team of the semifinal match between Finland and the United States.

Reaching their seventh straight gold medal game, Canada has won six games in Beijing. Outscoring their opponents by a 54-8 tally, Canada has played against the United States in the last three gold medal games, winning twice.

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