The United States women's hockey team used a five-goal first period to rout Switzerland 9-0 on Monday and clinch their spot in the semifinals after just two of three round-robin games.
In the opening minutes of the game, the Swiss did have decent traction in the game thanks in part to an early power play. But soon enough the United States scored and immediately the floodgates were open.
Monique Lamoureux scored on a great pass from her sister Jocelyne Lamoureux at 9:20 of the first period to put the USA on the board. Just 55 seconds later the USA was up 3-0, marking the fastest three goals in women's Olympic hockey history. Brianna Decker was able to squeek one past Swiss goalie Florence Schelling at 10:07 and just eight seconds later Amanda Kessel -- yes, Phil's sister -- made a terrific individual effort to give the USA the three-goal lead.
The opening-period barrage didn't stop there as Hilary Knight scored her second goal in as many games with a nice backhand right in front of the crease and Kessel converted another on the power play at 15:42. And that was just in the first period.
It was a spurt like we've never seen from the women's team in Olympic hockey. Really.
As much as the US controlled play in the first period after the opening minutes, the Americans only controlled play more in the second. They outshot the Swiss 16-1 in the period and pushed the lead out to 6-0 on another goal from Monique Lamoureux from Jocelyne.
Hardly done, the United States continued to push out the advantage in the third period all while holding the Swiss off the board.
Kendall Coyne scored two goals in the third period, the first coming after a review. On the ice it wasn't called a goal and the action continued until Kessel scored what would have been her third goal of the game. But after review, Coyne was given her goal and Kessel's came off the board. Coyne added another goal before Alex Carpenter finished off the scoring for the final 9-0 score.
From start to finish, the speed of the United States was on full display and clearly a major difference between the two sides. The Americans were significantly faster and it helped them to reach loose pucks as well as create space for many of their chances.
While it was great for the American team, outshooting the Swiss 53-10, it further underscored the massive gap and lack of competitive balance in the women's game. The US and Canada remain head and shoulders above the rest of the world.
Speaking of the Canadians, they will clinch a spot in the semifinals too with a win over Finland later on Monday. The two North American rivals will meet in the final round-robin game in what will most likely amount to nothing more than an a preview of the gold-medal game.