Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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On Golden Ponds: U.S. Women Deliver Knockout Against Swiss

Canada survives scare against Finland

By Jim Iovino
|  Monday, Feb 10, 2014  |  Updated 2:07 PM EDT
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Kendall Coyne of the Untied States collides with Alina Muller of Switzerland against the boards during the first period of the 2014 Winter Olympics women's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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It was like watching a Sylvester Stallone movie, constantly yelling "Get up, Rocky!" every time the Swiss women's hockey team was knocked down by another Team USA goal.

The Swiss women manage to get up to their skates nine times on Monday, but could not deliver a single counter-punch in the three-round pummeling they received from the United States' well-oiled hockey machine.

How bad was it? At one point in the third period the United States scored twice on the same shift -- without a whistle being blown.

First, Kendall Coyne pushed the puck past Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling, but a defender pulled the puck out just after it crossed the goal line. The refs didn't see it go in, so play went on. Coyne's line scored again before another whistle was blown -- this time by Amanda Kessel.

Two goals on one shift is rare. Two goals on one shift without a stoppage in play doesn't count. After a video review, Coyne's original goal counted and Kessel's goal (which would have been her third of the game) was taken off the board.

It's not like Team USA needed both. They dominated from the start with a quick-strike attack that saw them put a five-spot on the scoreboard in the first period. That included an Olympic record of three goals in 55 seconds and a team record of fastest five goals in Olympic competition (five in a span of 6 minutes, 22 seconds, to be exact).

With the Swiss out of the way, Team USA can now focus on their only real rival -- the Canadians.

Team Canada survived a major scare later in the day against Finland and all-world goalie Noora Raty.  The Finns shut down the high-scoring Canadian offense for two-plus periods with some amazing saves.  The Canadians finally broke through about midway through the third period on the power play, and added two more insurance goals after that.

While the game will go down as a 3-0 shutout, it was a huge victory for women's hockey.  Seriously.  This game may have saved the game as an Olympic sport.  With so many blowouts by the U.S. and Canada over the years, the lack of competition made Olympic organizers question whether women's hockey should continue to be featured in the Games.  Everyone was waiting for a nail-biter by an underdog team against the U.S. or Canada, and Finland finally provided it.

"I've never seen them (Team Canada) celebrate as much as they celebrated that first goal," Raty told the Associated Press. "That showed they were probably getting frustrated. We have never beaten Canada in our history, but this showed we are maybe closing the gap."

Canada, for it's part, will have plenty to ponder as they head into its matchup against the United States.  The rivals will face off at 7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT Wednesday. The game can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network and on NBCOlympics.com.

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