Canada 5 - Finland 1
CANADA BEATS FINLAND 5-1 TO ADVANCE TO GOLD MEDAL GAME OF
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Canada’s National Women’s Team opened the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on a sour note. They're looking for a sweet ending.
Canada advanced to Saturday's gold-medal game with a 5-1 win over Finland in Friday's semifinal.
A 9-2 loss to open the tournament was the worst beating a Canadian women's hockey team has ever taken from the United States.
“We know we're a much better team than we played the first game,” assistant captain Caroline Ouellette (Montreal, Que./Montreal, CWHL) said. “We're excited to prove it tomorrow.”
The Canadian women will have now played in all 14 finals of the women's championship since the first in
1990 in Ottawa, Ont.
Canada has a 9-4 record in finals versus the Americans, but hasn't won gold since 2007 in Winnipeg, Man. The U.S. has won three straight and four of the last five.
Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont./Montreal, CWHL) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Boston University, HE) led the offence Friday with a goal and an assist apiece. Ouellette, Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) and Laura Fortino (Hamilton, Ont./Cornell University, ECAC) scored, while Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Ohio State University, WCHA) contributed a pair of assists for Canada.
Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta./Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, ACAC) made 14 saves for the win. Karolina Rantamaki scored Finland's lone goal on a power-play and Noora Raty made 38 saves in the loss.
Finland will play for bronze Saturday. In the relegation round, Germany defeated Slovakia 3-1, sending the Slovaks to the second-tier world championship in 2013.
The Finns have never beaten Canada, but went into the semifinal feeling confident. They'd made Canada sweat for a 3-2 win in the preliminary round and felt they were close to an upset.
Raty had made 40 saves in that game and seemed capable of more to keep the score close. The longer Finland keeps Canada off the scoreboard the more confident the Finns became.
But Canada stamped that hope out early Friday. Ouellette and Fortino both scored within the first five minutes.
“Coming out hard in the first five minutes, it's very important,'' Agosta said. “We were prepared to do that and it's something the coaching staff told us was one of our goals.”
The Finns competed well against the Canadians defensively, but can't yet generate the necessary offence to
come back after they fall behind.
“The second period was OK, but one good period isn't enough beat a team like Canada,” Finland coach Pekka
“We need to be a little bit better at keeping our sticks on the ice,” Canadian head coach Dan Church said. “The physical stuff I'll take because that's the way we need to play the game.''
Szabados was in net for both games against Finland. She felt the team in front of her was more cohesive Friday.
“We gelled a little better today, looked a little bit more like a team,” she said. “Today, the passes were on, (there was) a little more communication and good breakouts.”
The Canadians moved the puck with authority when they crossed the red-line. There were cracks in the defence, however.
They were caught pressing too deep into the offensive zone a couple of times in the second period. Canada also fumbled working the puck out of their zone under pressure from the Finns.
``I think we have to keep it simple,'' Ouellette said. ``If you watched the game against the U.S., often when they had nothing they put it up against the glass and out and used their speed to go get it.
``(When) Finland was trapping, it wasn't so much we were under pressure, but we weren't connected as far as being really close and coming out together. When everything is on the line, sometimes you have to just celebrate getting the puck out of the zone.''
|Arena||Gutterson Fieldhouse||City, Country||Burlington, VT|
|Month / Day / Year||04/13/2012||Time||03:00 PM ET|
03:32 CAN 13 Caroline Ouellette (29 Marie-Philip Poulin, 18 Catherine Ward)
04:53 CAN 8 Laura Fortino (2 Meghan Agosta, 24 Natalie Spooner)
02:06 CAN 2 Meghan Agosta (19 Brianne Jenner, 10 Gillian Apps)
10:32 FIN 29 Karoliina Rantamäki (20 Saija Tarkki, 6 Jenni Hiirikoski) PP
12:12 CAN 29 Marie-Philip Poulin (16 Jayna Hefford, 8 Laura Fortino)
18:40 CAN 11 Courtney Birchard (10 Gillian Apps, 24 Natalie Spooner) PP
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|