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Canada survives scare, U.S. rolls in women's hockey

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Frustrated for most of the game, Canada finally broke through to defeat Finland on Monday at the Sochi Olympics, while the United States put on an offensive showing to rout Switzerland.

The U.S. got two goals apiece from Amanda Kessel, Monique Lamoureux and Kendall Coyne in a 9-0 win, moving to 2-0 in Group A ahead of its highly- anticipated game against Canada on Wednesday. The Americans and Canadians entered Sochi as medal favorites in the tournament.

Canada also will go into that matchup with a pair of victories, but not before being put to the test by Finland, which held the Canadians off the scoreboard for two periods before eventually falling 3-0.

The U.S. jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Swiss in the first period, with Kessel recording two goals and an assist in the opening period.

The game was scoreless until the Americans exploded for three goals over a span of 55 seconds around the midway point of the first period. Lamoureux put the U.S. on the board at 9:20, Brianna Decker scored at 10:07 and Kessel notched her first goal just eight seconds later to give the U.S. a 3-0 cushion.

Hilary Knight pushed the lead to 4-0 with 5:37 left in the first and Kessel made it a five-goal advantage with a power-play tally at the 15:42 mark. Lamoureux made it 6-0 with the lone marker of the second period and the U.S. piled on with three more goals in the third.

Kessel and Coyne both had two assists to lead the U.S. offense with four-point games.

American goaltender Molly Schaus made 10 saves to record the shutout. Florence Schelling allowed all nine goals on 53 shots for Switzerland.

It wasn't as easy for Canada, which entered Sochi having gone 19-2 over the previous four Winter Olympics and having won the last three gold medals.

Canada began the preliminary round with a 5-0 win over Switzerland, but struggled to get anything past Finland goaltender Noora Raty for a majority of the game on Monday. The Canadians finally broke through at the midway mark of the third for the first of three goals in a span of 7:09.

Meghan Agosta-Marciano's tally with 10:33 to play melted the frustration for an offense that outshot Finland, the 2010 bronze medal winner, 42-14.

Agosta-Marciano converted on the power play, ripping a slap shot from the slot right over the glove of Raty, who was excellent with 39 saves.

That goal for Canada came on its 37th shot and Jayna Hefford cashed in just under three minutes later, sneaking a shot over Raty's left shoulder after stripping the puck in the neutral zone.

Rebecca Johnston put home Canada's third goal, tipping home a pass from across the slot with 3:24 to go.

Shannon Szabados wasn't tested too much, but posted a 14-save shutout to help Canada avoid its first Olympic loss to a club other than the U.S.