International Ice Hockey Federation

Russians beat Finland late, 2-1

Russians beat Finland late, 2-1

Goal in final minute wins it

Published 31.03.2017 23:14 GMT-4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Russians beat Finland late, 2-1
MICHIGAN - MARCH 31: Russia's Yekaterina Smolentseva #17 scores the game winning goal on Finland's Noora Raty #41 to make the score 2-1 for Russia during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Yekaterina Smolentseva scored on the power play with only 50 seconds remaining in regulation time to give Russia a 2-1 win over Finland.

It was the first game for both teams to start the 2017 Women’s World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan.

“We stuck to our game plan today,” said Russian forward Iya Gavrilova. “We were aggressive and wanted to trap them in the neutral zone, and I think we did that well.”

The win puts Russia in a tie with the United States atop the Group A standings after a hectic day in which all eight teams played. A similar schedule follows tomorrow as the Finns play Canada at night while the Russians play the pumped-up Americans in a matinee at the USA Hockey Arena, home of the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Finland lost a tight 1-0 game to Russia in a shootout in last year’s bronze-medal game.

“It was a power play,” Smolentseva explained of her winning tally this afternoon. “Anna [Shibanova] was on the half boards and passed it down low to Alexandra [Vafina]. She passed it to me back door to finish it off. It was a big goal for us.”

“It was our first game,” noted Anna Shibanova, “but I thought we played pretty well. Right now, though, everyone has an equal chance to win. We’ll try to win as many games as we can, so this is a good start.”

Russia had tied the game 1-1 early in the third period on an unassisted goal by Fanuza Kadirova, who is still a few days shy of her 19th birthday and already in her third Women’s Worlds.

After a scoreless first period, Finland got the opening goal thanks to 43-year-old IIHF Hall of Famer Rikka Valila early in the middle frame. 

“I think our only good period was the second,” goalie Noora Raty said. Raty was making her first appearance with Suomi since retiring after the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. “The first we were just skating our nerves off and in the third we ran into penalty trouble.”

As for her own play after a lengthy absence, she was pleased. “I felt pretty good,” she said. “I controlled the rebounds and didn’t give them many second chances. It sucks to lose, though.”

Finland’s lack of discipline was a key factor not on the scoreboard but in terms of momentum. The team took seven minors to Russia’s four, halting good play and giving Russians a chance to control the puck too often.


Back to Overview