CANADA EDGED BY FINNS IN SEMIFINALS AT WWC
JASON LA ROSE
ESPOO, Finland – Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./Markham, CWHL) and Loren Gabel (Kitchener, Ont./Clarkson University, ECAC) scored goals, but Canada’s National Women’s Team was stymied by Finnish goaltender Noora Räty in a 4-2 semifinal loss to the hosts Saturday at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
The Canadians will play for bronze Sunday (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT) for the first time at women’s worlds; they’ll take on the loser of the United States-Russia semifinal in the third-place game.
Canada swarmed the Finns from the first drop of the puck, and were rewarded with an early goal when Rattray redirected a shot from Laura Stacey (Kleinburg, Ont,/Markham, CWHL) past Räty just 2:32 in.
But the Finns got that back when Ronja Savolainen tipped a shot from Jenni Hiirikoski behind Canadian netminder Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta./Buffalo, NWHL) on the power play, sending the game to the intermission even despite Canada holding a 14-6 advantage in shots.
Finland took its first lead when Hiirikoski hammered a slap shot past Szabados for another man-advantage marker seven minutes into the second period, but Gabel – with her back to the net – knocked a loose puck just inside the near post only 63 seconds later to tie the game for Canada.
Susanna Tapani gave the Finns the lead back with the game-winner before the end of the middle frame, getting a piece of a shot from Nelli Laitanen at 16:18.
Räty was busiest in the second period, making 17 of her 43 stops, including a number of saves on a long two-man advantage for the Canadians early in the stanza.
She was just as good in the third, turning away all 13 shots she faced as Canada searched for the equalizer.
Szabados went to the bench with under two minutes left, but Savolainen raced away for an empty-net goal with 38 seconds remaining to clinch the win for the Finns in front of 4,311 fans at Metro Areena.
Canada’s top three players of the tournament – as chosen by the coaching staff – were recognized after the game: Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./Toronto, CWHL), Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) and Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./Toronto, CWHL).