The United States women’s hockey team is one step closer to an appearance in the gold medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics. With a semifinal matchup against Sweden set for today, Monday Feb 17@7:30 AM ET, the Americans know they must play a better brand of hockey. Sweden upset Finland to reach the semifinals here, and at the 2006 Turin Olympics surprised the US in the semifinals on its way to silver. Last time around, Team USA met Sweden and trounced them 9-1 in the semifinal to reach the gold-medal game. Team USA are huge favorites coming into this matchup. With a win, the USA women will advance to the finals and face the winner of Canada and Switzerland, which will take place later in the morning.
Team USA enters Monday with questions about key player Julie Chu. Nursing a sore left hand, Chu is expected to play Monday, coach Katey Stone said. Chu has played in every Olympics game since Salt Lake City in 2002.
The United States has been led in scoring by Hilary Knight, who has tallied five points. Amanda Kessel has four points and is a +6.
Sweden is led offensively Pemilla Winberg who also has five points in the tournament.
If Sweden stands any chance, it will need a huge performance from goalie Valentina Wallner who has a 93.8 save percentage in the tournament. She took the reins from veteran Kim Martin, who was the goaltender who stood on her head in that 2006 shootout win over the U.S.
The Bottom Line: It should at the very least be an interesting tilt, but most anticipate a USA-Canada rematch for gold on Thursday.We recommend you sign up with Bovada to receive a 10% sign up bonus heading into the big game.