North America continued its dominance in the 2014 Winter Olympics women's ice hockey tournament on Monday with two very different games.
The United States and Canada will play in a winner-takes all scenario for the final Group A game on Wednesday. But to get there, they had to first deal with two European foes that presented interesting challenges.
In the end, the United States cruised while Canada made their fans sweat out a tense game.
The most lopsided game of the tournament so far occurred while most of America was sound asleep. A poor goaltending performance from Swiss goalie Florence Schelling during an onslaught from the Americans doomed Switzerland to a 9-0 rout.
The United States dominated possession throughout the game, pressuring the Swiss into making mistakes in their own end. Monique Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel all scored within 55 seconds of each other in the first period, giving the United States the fastest 3-0 lead in Olympic women's hockey history.
By the end of the first period, the Swiss trailed 5-0 and seemed entirely out of their element. The Americans kept the foot on the gas in the final two frames. Kessel and Lamoureux scored again and Kendall Coyne scored twice in the third to extend the USA's lead to 9-0 by the final whistle. Kessel and Coyne combined for four goals and eight points in the win.
The United States sits atop Group A after the win, while Switzerland is fourth.
The unquestioned star goalie of the tournament so far is Finland's Noora Raty. She followed up her 40-save game against the USA with another strong effort against the Canadians on Monday. Once again, it wasn't enough to keep Finland from losing.
Canada came out strong on Monday, but the Finns pushed back harder and Raty denied every scoring chance against her team. By the end of the second period, Raty had stopped all 27 shots against and Finland looked like it would finally break its 20-game losing streak against the Canadians.
But Canada upped the pressure in the third period and finally broke through when Meghan Agosta-Marciano scored a power play goal from the slot with ten minutes remaining in the game. The goal seemed to deflate Finland, and Jayna Hefford and Rebecca Johnston put the game to bed with two more goals in the final eight minutes to give Canada a 3-0 win.
Canada will head into their matchup against the United States sitting second in the Group A standings. Finland faces Switzerland earlier that day.