GAME NOTES: Canada vs. Finland (August 18)
TV: TSN | TSN Direct
Finally. It’s game day. After 557 days,
Canada’s National Women’s Team gets back to international competition when it faces off with Finland in
pre-tournament action ahead of the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
You have to go all the way back to Feb. 8, 2020 for the last official Team
That night in Anaheim, Jill Saulnier and Loren Gabel scored first-period goals and Mélodie
Daoust gave the Canadians a lead in the second, but the U.S. closed out the
Rivalry Series with a 4-3 overtime win. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the
world a month later.
The Finns’ last game also came Feb. 8, 2020; they closed out the Euro
Hockey Tour with a 4-0 win over the tournament hosts in Tranås, Sweden.
Michelle Karvinen scored twice, Jenni Hiirikoski and Ronja Savolainen had
one each and Noora Räty made 21 saves for the shutout.
The Canadians have had lots of time to think about this one.
Finland sprung a semifinal upset on home ice at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship, getting 43 saves
from Räty in a 4-2 win.
Jamie Lee Rattray opened the scoring less than three minutes in and Gabel
brought the Canadians even at 2-2 midway through the second period, but
Susanna Tapani got the game-winner late in the middle frame and Räty shut
the door with 13 saves in the third to keep Canada from the gold medal game
for the first time ever.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Canadian roster is an interesting mix of youth and experience. This is
the fourth-oldest group Canada has ever brought to women’s worlds (the
average age is 26 years, nine months), but more than a quarter of the
roster – seven of the 25 – have fewer than 10 games of National Women’s
Team experience, and eight have never played at a world championship. The
usual suspects will lead the way (Poulin, Jenner, Johnston, et al.), but it
will be interesting to see how the new blood fits in.
For the Finns, it starts and ends with Hiirikoski. The captain is the heart
and soul of her team, and is unquestionably the best blue-liner in the
world – she has been honoured as Top Defenceman at each of the last six
women’s worlds, and seven of the last eight. With Räty not part of the
Finnish roster, all eyes will be on No. 6.
A LOOK BACK
The Finns have been frequent foes for Canada – only the U.S. has stood
across the ice more often. The 80-game history belongs to the Canadians;
they won 70 of the first 71 meetings, with only a 6-6 tie in 1999
interrupting that run. Finland finally broke through at the 2017 women’s
a 4-3 prelim win, but Canada got its revenge in
a 4-0 semifinal triumph.
Jayna Hefford owns the single-game scoring record for Canada, posting seven
points – a hat trick and four assists – in an 8-1 win over the Finns at the
2006 4 Nations Cup. Caroline Ouellette added three goals and three helpers
of her own in that one; those are two of just 10 six-point efforts in Team
All-time record: Canada leads 77-2-1
Canada goals: 408
Finland goals: 102