By Greg Beacham | Associated Press
SOCHI, Russia -- For the rematch, Canada skipped the overtime and shelved the theatrics.
One slick goal and 60 minutes of stifling defensive hockey kept the Canadians firmly on top of the U.S. and moved them to the brink of gold again.
Jamie Benn scored in the second period, Carey Price made 31 saves, and Canada beat the United States 1-0 Friday night in the semifinals of the Olympic men's hockey tournament.
Canada advanced to the gold-medal match Sunday against Sweden, which beat Finland 2-1 in the earlier semifinal at Bolshoy Ice Dome.
With an unbeaten run through Sochi, the Canadians are a win away from their third gold medal in four Olympics, and they're guaranteed their first medals outside North America in 20 years.
Although it was fast-paced and well-played, this win had none of the flair of Sidney Crosby's overtime goal to beat the U.S. four years ago. The Canadians didn't care.
"We didn't score a lot of goals, but we didn't have to," Canada forward Jonathan Toews said. "The next game will follow that work ethic. We can check, we can work our tails off, and we can make things real tough for the other team."
After its first loss in Sochi, the U.S. will face Finland for bronze on Saturday. The Americans were hoping for redemption from their gut-wrenching defeat in 2010, but they only got a businesslike reminder of Canada's clout.
"We didn't show up to play," U.S. defenseman Ryan Suter said. "It's too bad. ... We sat back. We were passive. You can't play scared. I thought we sat on our heels and just didn't take it to them at all."
Indeed, the defending Olympic champions left little doubt about their North American hockey dominance in a rematch of the finale of the Vancouver Games. Although the Canadians had no signature moments and never pulled away, they also never appeared seriously threatened.
From faceoff to final buzzer, Canada was in control thanks to Price, Benn and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, whose pass created Benn's goal. All three players weren't on the Canadian team in Vancouver, but they're a win away from earning their own gold medals.
The Canadians haven't even trailed in the Sochi Olympics, and they coolly maintained border supremacy on the U.S. by defending their blue line with authority.
Jonathan Quick stopped 36 shots in a strong performance for the Americans, who had trailed for just 7:19 in Sochi before Benn's goal put them in a hole they never escaped.
Canada scored early in the second period during a shift by Benn and Anaheim Ducks teammates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Benn got the puck outside to Bouwmeester, who threaded a pass into the slot for Benn's deflection past Quick, whose aggression sometimes makes him vulnerable to such shots.
On Day 15 of the Sochi Olympics, 18-year-old American skier Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest ever gold medal winner in the women's slalom; Marielle Thompson of Canada edged teammate Kelsey Serwa for the gold in women's skicross; Canada routed Britain 9-3 to win its third straight gold medal in men's curling; and short track speedskating gold medals went to Viktor Ahn of Russia in the men's 500, to Park Seung-hi of South Korea in the women's 1,000, and to Russia in the men's 5,000-meter relay.
Ukraine's team of twins Vita and Valj Semerenko, Juliya Dzhyma, and Olena Pidhrushna missed five targets but avoided penalty loops to finish in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 2.5 seconds. Russia was 26.4 seconds behind to take silver, and Norway trailed by 37.6 to win bronze.
Jamie Benn scored the only goal Canada needed in its 1-0 win over the U.S. Finland went up early in the second period when Olli Jokinen scored, but Sweden's Loui Eriksson tied it up and Erik Karlsson made it 2-1 with a slap shot from the middle of the ice.
Shiffrin became the youngest Olympic slalom champion, male or female, with her win. That mark was previously held by Paoletta Magoni of Italy, who won gold at the 1984 Sarajevo Games when she was 19. Austrian teammates Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel took silver and bronze.
Thompson and Serwa gave Canada its third 1-2 finish in freestyle skiing events in Sochi. The others came in men's and women's moguls. Canada also won gold and bronze in women's slopestyle skiing, and picked up a silver in the men's halfpipe, for a total of nine freestyle medals. In the skicross final, Ophelie David of France wiped out about two-thirds down the course, giving the bronze to Sweden's Anna Holmlund.
Canada's championship gave the country a sweep of the curling titles in Sochi. The Canadian women won their first-ever curling title on Thursday. Sweden won the bronze in men's curling, taking an extra end to defeat China 6-4.
Ahn, who was born in South Korea and became a Russian citizen in 2011, now has a career record eight short track medals. In addition to winning the 500, he anchored the Russian 5,000 relay team. He also became the first skater to win all four individual short track events at the Olympics. The U.S. team won silver in the relay, ending a medal drought for the American speedskaters. The long track team failed to get on the podium in 12 events, and the U.S. had been shut out in the first seven events at short track.