International Ice Hockey Federation

Canada swamps Finns, 4-0

Szabados perfect when she had to be

Published 06.04.2017 18:52 GMT-4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Canada swamps Finns, 4-0
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN - APRIL 6: Canada's Sarah Potomak #44 (not shown) scores a first period goal against Finland's Noora Raty #41 while Minttu Tuominen #15, Anna Kilponen #5, Sanni Hakala #28 and Brianne Jenner #19 look on during semifinal round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Leaving nothing to chance, Canada came out firing on all cylinders and never let up. The Finns have had a great tournament but couldn't match Canada's speed.

Canada got goals from four players, and goalie Shannon Szabados wasn't busy but she was sensational on occasion in recording her second consecutive shutout of the tournament. She stopped 23 shots on the afternoon.

"Shannon's one of the best in the world, and we have a lot of confidence when she's in goal," Rebecca Johnston said. "She made some big saves for us, so we're glad she's on our team."

The win sends Canada to tomorrow night's gold-medal game against the winner of tonight's United States-Germany game. Finland will play for bronze in the afternoon against tonight's losing team.

"We wanted to play with a lot of energy and get a lot of pucks on net," said captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who had a goal and assist for the winners. "We're happy with how we played and are looking forward to the final game now."

"We couldn't get our legs going in the first ten minutes," said Finland's goalie, Noora Raty. "The difference was how we played, not how they played. We knew they'd come out hard, but we just didn't have an answer for it. They took it to us."

Canada looked markedly different and moved the puck up ice effectively, avoiding the forechecking that made Finland so successful a few days ago during its 4-3 upset win. In the offensive end, Canada made crisp passes and created scoring chances galore through tenacity and greater determination. 

"We had a tough start to the tournament, but I think that only made us stronger," Poulin continued. "We had a little adversity, and we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but we're here to win that gold medal."

"We wanted to focus on the little things tonight," noted Johnston, who scored a goal in the third period. "We needed to be more aggressive and use our speed, and we had a lot of puck support. We were more confident tonight."

"We gave them more room," Michelle Karvinen said, offering the opposite point of view. "We were pressuring them a lot more last time. It took a while for us to get into the game. I don't know why. We had our chances, but we couldn't score. We didn't get traffic in front of their net. That's hockey."

Canada opened the scoring at 17:35 of the first when Brianne Jenner's point shot caused havoc in Raty's crease. Sarah Potomak banged in the loose puck for the 1-0 lead. 

"The first goal is key in any game because it gives you the momentum," Johnston noted. "We got confident and kept rolling from there. Our speed made them a bit nervous, I think, especially in the first period."

The Canadians added two more goals in the second as they kept up a ferocious puck-pursuit and puck-possession game. Poulin scored a beauty at 5:08 as she outwaited Raty and then roofed a sensational shot into a small opening above the goalie's shoulder.

Johnston made it 3-0 on a power play, wiring a shot off the post and in at 7:33.

When Finland got a late power play in the third, coach Pasi Mustonen pulled Raty to create a two-man advantage, but Emily Clark potted an empty-netter at 15:31 to close out the scoring.

Finland now prepares for a bronze-medal game tomorrow, after which the focus is on PyeongChang at the 2018 Olympics just ten months away.

"We've been playing better and better in recent years," Raty said. "We know they'll probably win nine games out of ten, but we hope that one game will be in the Olympics. We already got them here, so it would be a miracle if we won in the South Korea as well. But we'll try."