PLYMOUTH, Mich. â€” The U.S. relentlessly dominated Germany, scoring soon after the puck dropped and refusing to relent until the final horn sounded.
Hilary Knight scored 1:06 into the game and Kelli Stack added a goal midway through the first period to give the Americans a cushion that they weren’t content with in an 11-0 victory over the Germans on Thursday night in the women’s hockey world championship semifinals.
“We didn’t want to play down to their pace,” said Kendall Coyne, who scored two of her team’s five goals in the second period. “We want to play up to our pace.”
The Americans will face Canada for gold on Friday night. They’re shooting to win a fourth straight world championship final against the rival Canadians, who beat them in the 2014 Olympics.
“There’s no love lost on the ice,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said. “It gets heated.”
Without needing to break a sweat, Nicole Hensley stopped eight shots for the U.S. for a shutout.
The Germans will face Finland in the bronze-medal game Friday, aiming for their first medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship.
“We’re super motivated,” German goaltender Jennifer Harss said. “We’re super excited. We can’t wait.”
The Finns have won 11 bronze in 17 the women’s world championships.
Harss made a pair of spectacular stops that made the crowd gasp in the first period and kept her team within two goals in the opening period. She was replaced after giving up a seventh goal in the second period and was replaced by Ivonne Schroder, who fared only slightly better in the lopsided laugher.
The Americans didn’t let up in the second, scoring five times in the first 6-plus minutes of the period to take a 7-0 lead that left only the final score in doubt, or until the final horn sounded.
Canada and the U.S. have met in every world championship since the event’s inception in 1990, and the Americans have won six of the last seven.
IIHF President Rene Fasel said it might take another 10 or 15 years for the rest of the world to catch up with the Americans and Canadians.
“The gap is still very big,” Fasel acknowledged before the tournament.
Finland coach Pasi Mustonen doesn’t expect anyone to slow down the U.S.
“The Americans on defence are from another planet they’re so good,” Mustonen said. “They’ve been the best team â€” by far â€” in the tournament. Canada can score and has a good goalie, too, but defensively it’s not even close. The Americans are much, much better than everyone else.”
The U.S., just after winning an off-ice fight with USA Hockey for better wages, opened the tournament last week with a 2-0 win over the Canadians and followed that up with a 7-0 rout of Russia and a 5-3 victory against Finland.
The Americans were even more dominant against the Germans, who beat Russia to earn a spot in the semifinals.
Coyne scored on a power play early in the breakout period that turned a 2-0 game into a 7-0 rout. Coyne, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Megan Keller added goals in even-strength situations that were so lopsided it looked as if the U.S. had an extra skater on the ice as it maintained the puck easily and found open space to shoot.
Germany had just five shots entering the third, missing a chance to add a shot and goal in the final seconds of the second period when Kerstin Spielberger failed to control the puck in front of a wide-open net.
The Germans had a power play early in the third, but the Americans possessed the puck for much of the 2-minute stretch. Shortly after killing the penalty, Amanda Pelkey scored off a rebound and later in the period. Stack scored again and Haley Skarupa made it a double-digit game in the third.
Refusing to be satisfied, Alex Carpenter scored with 13.3 seconds left to make it 11-0.
“We’ve had a great tournament so far. Obviously, it’s not done,” Duggan said. “If we play the way we can play, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side.”
Follow Hockey Writer Larry Lage at http://www.twitter.com/larrylage
Larry Lage, The Associated Press