CANADA BLANKS OAR, OFF TO SIXTH-STRAIGHT OLYMPIC FINAL
JASON LA ROSE
GANGNEUNG, South Korea - Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Linköping HC, SWE) scored a pair of goals, helping Canada's Women's Olympic Team to the gold medal game at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games after a 5-0 semifinal win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Monday.
The Canadians will face the United States on Wednesday night (11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT), one win away from an unprecedented fifth-consecutive Olympic gold medal.
Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL), Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask./University of Wisconsin, WCHA) and Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) had the other goals for Canada, which scored early in all three periods.
Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta.) needed to make just 14 saves to record the shutout in her second start of the tournament.
Wakefield didn't waste any time giving the Canadians the lead, converting a feed from Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) to make it 1-0 just 1:50 after the puck dropped.
Poulin made it a two-goal game just past the three-minute mark of the second, tucking in a backhand after Mélodie Daoust (Valleyfield, Que./Montreal, CWHL) had dangled her way around the offensive zone.
Russian goaltender Valeria Tarakanova was the story through 40 minutes, making 23 saves, but Canada got to her early in the third to prematurely end her evening.
Wakefield was first, walking out from behind the net and sneaking a wrist shot short-side for her second of the game at 1:59, and Clark cleaned up a Laura Stacey (Kleinburg, Ont./Markham, CWHL) rebound just 31 seconds after that for a 4-0 lead.
That was all for Tarakanova, who was replaced by Nadezhda Aleksandrova.
Johnston capped the scoring with just over six minutes left, finding her own rebound off the crossbar and beating Aleksandrova.
The Canadians, who have appeared in all six women's hockey gold medal games, will take a 23-game Olympic winning streak into the final. A victory would make them the first team, men's or women's, to win five-straight Olympic gold medals in any sport.