BEIJING (REUTERS) - Canada reached their seventh consecutive women's Olympic ice hockey final by thrashing Switzerland 10-3 on Monday (Feb 14) to set up a potential gold-medal showdown in Beijing with arch rivals and reigning champions the United States.
The world title holders scored five times in little over three minutes midway through the first period, reminding hockey fans they are among the pre-eminent powerhouses in the sport.
Canada will face either the US, who ended their run of four straight Olympic golds in Pyeongchang four years ago, or Finland in the showpiece match. The pair meet later on Monday.
"We're taking the game to new heights right now," said Sarah Nurse, an Olympic veteran who recorded four assists.
"I know that people look at the scores and again think that we just dominate teams but I think that what we're doing on the ice right now is we're pushing the pace for women's hockey."
Claire Thompson started the rout with a wicked wrist shot from the slot midway through the first period, with Jamie Lee Rattray, Blayre Turnbull, Renata Fast and Erin Ambrose adding to the advantage.
Three-time Olympian Lara Stalder put the Swiss on the board with less than two minutes left in the frame before Alina Muller flipped the puck in to further cut the deficit five minutes into the second.
But the momentum was short-lived as Canada's stalwart captain Marie-Philip Poulin responded three minutes later with the first of her two goals and Emily Clark recorded another 11 seconds later.
Forwards Emma Maltais and Brianne Jenner scored in the third.
"We're playing a style of hockey that's never been seen in our tournament before and so in five, 10 years other countries are going to be playing our style of play and we're going to keep pushing the envelope and keep making our sport better," said Nurse.