The United States is one win away from a sixth consecutive Women’s Hockey World Cup.
Alex Carpenter, Abbey Murphy and Kendall Coyne Schofield scored with an empty goal for the USA in a 3-0 win in Monday’s semi-final over Finland
American goalkeeper Nicole Hensley shutout with 14 saves. Finnish counterpart Anni Keisala stopped 31 of 33 shots in the loss.
The US will face the winner of Monday’s later semifinal between Canada and Switzerland.
WATCH l USA advance to gold medal final with shutout win over Finland:
“This team is special,” Murphy said. “It’s been a long road, but we’re here and we deserve it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The US has won eight of the last nine world titles. The Americans defeated the host Finns 2-1 in a shootout in the 2019 final in Espoo.
The 2020 Championship has been canceled due to COVID-19. This year’s tournament was moved to August in Calgary when Nova Scotia canceled the championship in May.
“This is what we’ve been working towards for the past two years, to be able to get back to the gold medal game and have a chance to win another gold medal,” said U.S. defenseman Megan Keller.
After losing 5-1 to Canada to close the preliminary round, the United States beat Japan 10-2 in the quarterfinals.
The US finished second in Group A 3-1 ahead of Finland 2-2.
The Finns, who play for bronze on Tuesday, came 1-0 to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
With Keisala out of the Finnish net for an extra striker, Coyne Schofield scored into the empty net at 5:08 PM of the third period.
Two goals down with just over seven minutes to play, Finland also drew Keisala in a power play for two additional attackers, but failed to score.
“The key point is to get the puck into the net. The US did a really good job blocking every shot,” said Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikoski. “We have to be a little smarter there to get those pucks in the net.”
The US led 2-0, beating the Finns 25-7 to progress into the third period.
“USA won the game in the 2nd period,” says Finnish coach
Murphy drove in from the flank and stopped the puck under Keisala to score at 15:17 of the second. Carpenter sent a shot from Lee Stecklein from the blue line through Keisala at 10:55 am.
“The US won the game in the second period,” said Finnish coach Pasi Mustonen. “They were better there.
“This team needs time to play the second periods in the right way to compete with the North Americans, but we are coming.”
Her teammates didn’t get a shot at the net for two minutes of a five-on-three at the start of the period, but generated a few scoring opportunities later in the period.
“When we get a five-on-three, we’re usually extremely good. In that situation, nothing went right,” Mustonen said.
Susanna Tapani shoved the puck off the post with five minutes to go. Elisa Holopainen shot her own rebound just wide of the far corner of the American net during a power play.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Japan will play for fifth place on Tuesday with a berth in Pool A in the next world championship at stake.