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After a low offensive output throughout the preliminary round, Canada
answered the call against Slovakia in the quarterfinals to punch its ticket
to the semifinals against Finland.
Canada’s offence found its groove against Slovakia,
coming away with a 7-0 win in the quarterfinals—flipping the score the Americans put up against the Canadians the night
before. Canada saw goals from seven different skaters, with Madison
Chantler, Ava Murphy, Karel Préfontaine and Mckenna Van Gelder finishing
with a goal and an assist each. Mari Pietersen earned her first
international shutout, but it was Slovakia’s Livia Debnarova who saw all
the action, making 58 saves on 65 shots.
Finland is coming off a loss, going back and forth with Nordic rivals
Sweden in its final preliminary game on Thursday to fall 5-4. Jenna Raunio
was the hero for Sweden, scoring the winning goal with just eight seconds
left on the clock. The loss created a three-way tie in Group A, with
Finland earning a bye to the semifinals on the back of its 5-9 goal
differential over Canada’s 3-10 and Sweden’s 6-10.
Canada was served its first loss against Finland in tournament history
earlier this week,
getting blanked 2-0 in its first preliminary game on Monday. The Canadians weathered a strong first period from the Finns, thanks in
large part to goaltender Hailey MacLeod, and directed 33 shots at Finnish
netminder Emilia Kyrkkö in the final 40 minutes (and 40 overall), but
couldn’t find a goal and lost for the first time in 10 meetings with the
Finns at the tournament.
WHAT TO WATCH
With Canada’s focus on creating better scoring opportunities, blueliner Ava
Murphy’s play stood out against Slovakia with a powerful drive to the net
in the third to collect her own rebound for her first goal of the
tournament. The 5-foot-9 defender’s ability to jump into the play created
good looks for Canada, who will need to keep control in the offensive zone
to stay competitive against Finland.
Finland’s historic win over Canada to open the tournament was in large part
due to Canada’s shot selection. On the scoring opportunities the Canadians
did generate, Finland’s Kyrkkö covered well.
A LOOK BACK
Before Canada dropped its first ever game against Finland on Monday, it
held a 9-0 record against the Finns, allowing only three goals against in
those nine meetings.
The most dominant victory for the Canadians came in the inaugural matchup
in Calgary, with Canada
earning a 17-0 win. Marie-Philip Poulin had a hat trick, Laura Fortino added a goal and four
assists and Natalie Spooner chipped in with five helpers in the 2008 game.
All-time record: Canada leads 9-1
Canada goals: 61
Finland goals: 5