STOCKHOLM – Team USA stepped on the gas in the second period, scored five goals, and extinguished the Czechs' hopes of making the final. The final score was 14-1.
Haley Skarupa and Layla Marvin got hat tricks, with Skarupa adding two assists, as well. Team USA outshot the Czech Republic 61-7 in the game.
The Czech Republic didn’t go down without a fight. In the first period, the team in red, led by goaltender Lenka Craigova, who made her first start in the tournament, shocked the Americans tying the game just 7 seconds after Skarupa’s 1-0 goal. The goal gave the Czechs another boost, but USA still managed to make it 2-1 before the end of the period.
"We didn't get the start we've had in the other games, because we didn't move our feet, or the puck," said Team USA head coach Jodi McKenna.
"I have to give them a lot of credit, they played aggressively, and forced us to make mistakes," she added.
In the second intermission McKenna reminded her team about their strengths and that helped.
Team USA came to the second period with a new look. They took up the tempo of the game, losing hardly any battles, and in the process, scored five goals to put the game to sleep.
Marvin started the scoring at 2:49, then Amanda Boulier beat Craigova with a slapshot from high slot for 4-1. Then it was time for the Haley Skarupa Show.
She stole the puck in the Czech zone, and sent it to Michelle Picard on the blueline. Picard fired a slapshot that Craigova stopped, but Skarupa took care of the rebound and beat Craigova with a wrist shot. In her next shift, Skarupa sent a saucer from behind the net to Alex Carpenter in the slot, and she onetimed it past Craigova for 6-1.
The Americans’ seventh goal came on powerplay as Field played the puck to Pfalzer on the blueline. She lured the Czech defenceman closer to her, then sent the puck back to Field, who took a step and fired a shot that went in off the far post, to make it 7-1.
The Americans have kept up their speed all the way to the end in the previous games, and the semi-final was no exception.
Abby Ness, Milica McMillen, Skarupa, Marvin, and Paige Savage scored once each in the third period to make it 12-1 with less than five minutes remaining. But given a scoring chance, Team USA put the pucks in.
Then Ness snapped a wrist shot from the slot for 13-1, and seven seconds later, with 54 seconds remaining, Sydney Daniels sealed the final score skating around the Czech defence and cutting to the front of the net, to bang the puck into the net.
The Czech Republic will play Finland for the bronze medals on Saturday, while the U.S. takes on Canada in the final.
"It's a long tournament, it's a long time to be in a foreign country, and I know that the players are excited to play in the final tomorrow," McKenna said.