Finland starts pre-competition strong with 10-1 over Czech Republic in Smith Falls
by Jamie Shinkewski
SMITH FALLS, Ont. – Finland started off its trip to Canada convincingly, defeating the Czech Republic 10-1 in a pre-competition game held Friday night at the Smith Falls Memorial Community Centre to help prepare for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.
The Finns are looking to get back in the medal standings this year, having lost the bronze medal game to Switzerland in last year’s women’s world championship held in Burlington, Vt.
On the other hand, the Czech Republic is making its first-ever appearance at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship this year in Ottawa.
In Friday night’s exhibition action in Smith Falls, the first and third periods were less eventful than the middle frame, with only two goals scored in each of those periods.
Finland opened the scoring at 8:04 in the opening period, when Susanna Tapani was left alone back door and beat Czech goaltender Radka Lhotska on the blocker side.
Michelle Karvinen extended the Finnish lead when she tapped home a rebound on the power play to round out the first period scoring.
The floodgates opened in the second period, with the Finns exploding for six goals in the first half of the frame.
Karoliina Rantamaki scored just 13 seconds into the frame as she found the puck on her stick off a miscue by the Czech defence and slid it into an empty net as Lhotska was caught out of position.
They extended the lead just over a minute later, as Tapani buried a pass when she found herself alone behind the defence for her second marker of the game.
The scoring continued on the power play, when Karvinen found the back of the net off of a scramble in front, for her second of the contest.
Just over a minute later, Venla Hovi beat a defender to a loose puck deep in the Czech zone and fired a backhand past Lhotska for her third point of the night.
The Czech Republic was finally able to get on the board at 8:01 into the period with a goal on a two-man advantage. Katerina Mrazova buried a back door pass for her team’s only goal of the night.
The Finns restored their six-goal lead, as Marjo Voutilainen scored off a beautiful pass out of the corner on the power play. Tiina Saarimaki buried her own rebound a minute and a half later to extend the lead to 8-1.
The Czechs were able to escape the period without any more damage, as Katerina Becevova shut the door for the rest of the period, replacing Lhotska between the pipes.
The Fins added two more goals to round out the scoring in a rather uneventful third period.
Nina Tikkinen scored at 7:57 into the third period and added her second of the game with just over five minutes left to help her team reach double digits on the scoreboard.
Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen was nearly perfect, turning aside 16 shots, as star goaltender Noora Raty got the night off.
Finland, which has never finished lower than fourth at women’s worlds, outshot the Czech Republic 43-17 in front of an announced crowd of 1,115.
Finland will not play another pre-tournament game, while the Czech Republic will take on the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Sunday night at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ont. The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET.
THE MOMENT: Finland @ Czech Republic – Friday, March 29
by Jamie Shinkewski
SMITH FALLS, Ont. – It only took thirteen seconds into the second frame for Finland to score the goal that gave them a 3-0 lead over the Czech Republic on Friday night.
A defensive miscue, a goaltender out of position, and the puck was on the stick of Finnish forward Karoliina Rantamaki. All she had to do was slide the puck into the yawning cage. She did not miss her moment in this pre-competition game.
Finland scored again just over a minute later, and five minutes into the period they scored twice more. They went on to score a total of six goals, while only surrendering one through the first twelve minutes of the period.
Venla Hovi and Marjo Voutilainen led the offensive outburst with a goal and an assist apiece. Six different players scored during the stretch.
The young Czech squad was clearly shaken up. Finland turned a 2-0 lead into an 8-1 lead by the intermission.
It was the moment. The reason hockey games can be so exciting. It eliminated the potential for a comeback and continued Finland’s train of momentum through the rest of the game as they cruised to a convincing 10-1 victory.