Canada took a one-goal lead on its first shot and never looked back as they defeated the Olympic Athletes from Russia 5-0 and clinched a spot in the Gold Medal game for the sixth time in as many attempts.
Jennifer Wakefield scored twice as Canada finally pulled away in third period after a tighly-contested 40 minutes. Marie-Philip Poulin, Emily Clark and Rebecca Johnston also found twine in the semifinal victory.
OAR made it much closer than many initially thought in a hard-fought semifinal matchup. Midway through the first period, Yelena Dergachyova had the opportunity to knot the score 1-1 but her backhanded attempt sailed through the crease. Canada’s goaltender Shannon Szabados left a juicy rebound from the initial shot but OAR couldn’t finish.
"We kept the score down in the first period. It's a pity that we couldn't score on an empty net," OAR coach Alexei Chistyakov. "It was a good moment, and we had a real chance to grasp it."
Szabados got the start in net after only playing in one of the three preliminary round games as head coach Laura Schuler wanted each goaltender to receive some ice time.
Jennifer Wakefield scored just 1:50 into the first period when Natalie Spooner found No. 9 cutting to an open area in the slot. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin added a backhander in the second to double Canada’s advantage.
Canada will look to defend its title for the fifth consecutive time as they take on Team USA in the championship game Feb. 21 at 11:10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Johnston said the team was expecting a feisty game.
"It always is: We're both competitive teams, and we both want to win that gold medal," she said. "It is probably going to be a rough game, and everyone will give it their all."