THE MOMENT United States @ Finland – Monday, April 8
by Chris Kallan
OTTAWA, Ont. – Clang! Spontaneous ‘Ooooh!’ from the crowd. What would have happened if that shot was just an inch or two lower?
We’ll never know.
Finland’s Michelle Karniven ripped a shot off the crossbar on the ensuing play after the Lady Lions killed off a string of four straight penalties, three for body checking and one for hooking, in the second period. The seemingly pro-Finland crowd of 4,035 emphatically booed the folks in stripes with every whistle, sending one of the Finns into the penalty box.
With the game scoreless and the United States dominating in shots on goal, Karniven had American netminder Jessie Vetter beat, but the puck smashed off the iron and bounced out of harm’s way.
A game of inches, indeed.
Finnish superstar puck stopper Noora Raty was also between the pipes five years ago during a world championship preliminary game in China, where she stonewalled the United States with a 30-save shutout performance in her country’s 1-0 overtime triumph.
Could Raty equal that performance against the heavily favoured Americans and shock the world? All Finland needed was that one elusive goal to change the complexion of the game.
It never came.
Hillary Knight, Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker all scored for the United States in the game’s final minutes for a 3-0 victory.
Damn you, crossbar!
For the full game summary, including statistics, please CLICK HERE.