SOCHI, Russia -- All of the talk during the United States' practice in advance of its women's hockey semifinal matchup was about Sweden, their opponent.
It wasn't until the players stepped off the sheet and the team met reporters did the topic of facing you-know-who for you-know-what.
"We're not looking straight to the gold-medal game," U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said Sunday in Sochi. "We have a huge semifinal game against a great team (Monday) and we'll worry about that one and then we'll go from there.
"The media makes a bigger deal about the U.S. and Canada going right to the final than anyone else does," Duggan added.
The U.S. and Canada remain on a collision course but still have some business each team must attend to before that game can happen. Sweden stunned Finland in the quarterfinals to set up its date with Team USA in Monday's first semifinal, then Canada faces off against Switzerland.
"We're all fired up," U.S. coach Katey Stone said. "The main thing is that our kids play their best hockey the next two games, individually and collectively."
There is a history between the U.S. and Sweden. The Swedes defeated the Americans 3-2 in the semifinals of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, the only time in 12 international meetings Sweden has beat the U.S. Sweden's top scorer in Sochi, Pernilla Winberg (two goals and three assists), scored the winner in '06 on a penalty shot.
Stone said she doesn't plan to use that loss as motivation.
"Some of these kids are too young, that stuff is in the past," Stone said. "It's a totally different team."
Instead, the focus will be on a Sweden team that came out of Group B, which featured the lower-ranked teams in the tournament.
"They're strong," Stone said. "They play a great game through the neutral zone. They stretch kids, they handle the puck well, they're patient and their goaltender has done a good job. We've got to be ready to play our best game."
Four-time Olympian Julie Chu is expected to play after injuring her left hand during Saturday's practice and Jessie Vetter will get the call in goal.
Canada, meanwhile, has cruised through the tournament, including a 3-2 win over the U.S. in the preliminary round. The only potential stumbling block to an opportunity to play for a third consecutive gold medal is Swiss goalie Florence Schelling, who has the ability to steal a game.
"They have a great goaltender so we will have to work around her," Canada forward Hayley Wickenheiser said. "If we can do that, we have great speed and the defensive ability and can capitalize on anything they throw at us."
Team Canada should receive an offensive boost with the Sochi debut of forward Haley Irwin, who hasn't played due to an upper-body injury.
"I'm ready to go," Irwin said. "You work all year for it. Right now every time I get on the ice I feel like a little kid again."
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