U.S. and Canada meet with gold medal game on the line

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - A rematch of the 2010 gold medal men's hockey game comes a round earlier, as the United States and Canada square off in the semifinals of the Sochi Olympics.

Canada won the gold medal four years ago in Vancouver when Sidney Crosby scored in overtime. It was Canada's second gold medal since the NHL began Olympic participation and both came at the expense of the United States.

The Canadians also won gold at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002 with a 5-2 victory over the Americans in the championship game.

While both North American squads won their respective groups in round-robin play, the United States has been the more dominant team in Sochi.

The Americans captured Group A with three wins, including one in overtime, and tied Finland for the most goals scored in the preliminary round with 15. The U.S. then went out and outclassed the Czech Republic in a 5-2 quarterfinal triumph.

Canada won Group B with three wins, including one in overtime, but did it mostly with defense. The Canadians yielded just two goals during the preliminary round and followed by squeezing out a 2-1 victory over a gutty Latvia team in the quarterfinals.

Latvia sure didn't make it easy for Canada on Wednesday. The Canadians outshot their opponents 57-16, but needed a Shea Weber power-play goal with 6:54 remaining to snap a 1-1 tie.

Weber has three goals in the tournament, while fellow defenseman Drew Doughty has four. More than half of Canada's 13 goals in the four games have come from the blue line duo.

Carey Price made 15 saves on Wednesday and Patrick Sharp scored the other goal for Canada.

The Americans, meanwhile, got off to a great start against the Czechs on Wednesday and never let their foot off the gas. James van Riemsdyk scored just 1:39 into the contest and after Ales Hemsky tied it for the Czechs, Dustin Brown and David Backes scored before the end of the first period and the outcome was never really in doubt afterward.

Zach Parise and Phil Kessel also found the net for the Americans, who got 21 saves from Jonathan Quick.

The Americans beat Canada in the 2010 preliminary round, 5-3.