Canada should Finnish 'em off
KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

TURIN -- Don't expect an upset in women's hockey at these Games.

Hockey fans may still be buzzing about Finland leading the United States 3-1 midway through a game Tuesday -- the Finns eventually lost 7-3. But Canadian veteran defenceman Cheryl Pounder said nobody should be sniffing for spoils.

Although teams such as Finland and Sweden are getting better, so, too, are Canada and the U.S., she said.

That can't be comforting to the Finns, who face Canada today in semi-final action.

Finnish goalkeeper Maija Hassinen said her team eased up in the third period against the U.S. and certainly can't do that against Canada.

"We will have to play our own game for the whole match, not just 40 minutes."

The Americans, led by Angela Ruggiero who scored six goals against the Finns, will play Sweden in the other semi-final.

'LONG PROCESS'

The Canadians had a day off yesterday to sightsee, but Pounder took time, before heading out on the town with her husband, to talk about the tournament and semi-final.

"We're ready to get started. It has been a long process, but the journey has been awesome."

Canada has taken care of the opposition handily, outscoring three teams 36-1.

"We're not too surprised," Pounder said of the team's success. "We set goals along the way. We've been getting (competition) at practice with our own group."

The gold-medal game will be played on Monday. Nobody should bet against the Canadians and the Americans being there.

Canada and the United States have met in the final of all major international competitions since a world championship in women's hockey was first contested in 1990.

Canadian coach Melody Davidson has said Hockey Canada sets goals of gold for both the women's and men's teams. "If we win, everyone will be ecstatic. The country will be crazy," she said.