The 4 Nations Cup tournament began yesterday in Saskatoon. The end results were pretty much as expected - Canada and USA won, Sweden and Finland did not. However, there were still points of interest about both games.
USA 5 - Finland 1
From all accounts Team USA had a bit of a slow start. Not only did Finland get on the board first, the puck went in off an American defender. Emma Nuutinen got the goal, with assists from Tanja Niskanen and Nelli Laitenin.
USA still outshot Finland in the first period but it was 9-3, which is not the shot volume you expect from them.
The Americans came out roaring in the second, Brianna Decker scoring just 13 seconds into the frame with a nasty little shot.
Things went downhill from there for the Finns as Team USA scored five times in the period. Sure, some of them were pretty great, like Decker’s. Others, like Sydney Brodt’s goal below, well...
If anyone has the slightest idea what Noora Räty and her defenders are trying to do there, please feel free to enlighten us in the comments.
The goal scorers were Decker, Cayla Barnes, Hilary Knight, Brodt and Dani Cameranesi. Caitrin Lonergan picked up her first senior team point with an assist on the Knight goal. (@WSportHilites has you covered with all the gifs.)
The Americans laid off the gas in the third, but the damage was done. Total shots were 49 - 10 in favour of USA.
Räty’s got to get it together, or Finland’s in trouble. If she’d played the way we’re used to seeing her play this game would have been much closer, although I’m sure she’ll also be having a talk with her defence corps. One bright spot thought - they killed off all six of their penalties. Meanwhile USA will have to have a far better first period tonight against Canada or they’re going to be down more than 1-0.
Canada 6 - Sweden 1
Going into this game the hope was simply that Sweden would put up a good show and not get completely massacred. Mission accomplished.
The two teams spent some time feeling each other out in the first period, Canada sending a lot of short passes around and getting the lay of the land. The first goal actually came shorthanded, with Renata Fast and Laura Stacey barrelling into the offensive zone and trying their luck. Fast carried the puck in and drew goalie Lovisa Selander’s attention before passing off to Stacey, who got the goal.
Laura Stacey with the shorthanded goal from Renata Fast! pic.twitter.com/TrHzjZQ0OD— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) November 7, 2018
The second goal was probably the prettiest of the game. Advice to other teams: do not give Mélodie Daoust time and space in front of your goalie it does not end well.
ohhhh what a beaut of a goal by daoust to make it 2-0 canada pic.twitter.com/x5nkPjVUsd— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) November 7, 2018
Rebecca Johnston picked up her first assist of the night on this goal. She’d end the night with four of em. (Annie has waxed poetic about Johnston before.)
GTA fans will be glad to know that Furies and Thunder players combined for six points on the night: goals for Stacey and Fortino and assists for Fast (2), Spooner and Nurse. Generally Coach Perry Pearn tended to pair CWHL teammates (or former teammates, in the case of Saulnier and Turnbull) up on the forward lines, so the Spooner and Nurse assists were on the same goal, Sarah Fillier’s first senior team point.
canada strike again! 3-0 off the stick of Sarah Fillier pic.twitter.com/94eWKnPJVw— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) November 7, 2018
An interesting thing to note is that Canada tallied half of their shots in the second period but only scored one goal that period, a power play goal by Fortino. Despite everything, Selander looked good in her first start.
It’s been quite a while since Sweden managed to score an actual goal on Canada. When it came it was a power play goal. Sweden had had the player advantage for all but 38 seconds (which were 4 on 4) of the previous three minutes so perhaps you could put some of the blame on tired Team Canada players, but a goal is a goal and it was their first against Canada in more than a calendar year. Emma Nordin did the honours.
what looks like a blocked shoot sends the puck to Emma Nordin for a power play goal! sweden breaks the shutout, 6-1 pic.twitter.com/ak55RtdDDT— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) November 7, 2018
Apart from the first half of the second period, Sweden kept up with Canada pretty well, and Szabados certainly wasn’t able to take any naps. Considering Räty’s performance yesterday, today’s Sweden-Finland clash could be quite interesting.
Both teams took four penalties each, so I can’t say that Canada took an excessive amount, but hopefully they remember Sweden’s power play marker and not their own shorthanded goal.
Day two awaits, likely a preview of the medal games. Finland vs Sweden is the day game, followed by Canada vs USA. There’s no love lost between either matchup, and things are likely to get physical.
If you’re still looking for team previews and players to watch, Gabs Fundaro from At Even Strength has you covered:
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