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Pyeongchang 2018: USA handles Finland, 5-0, Canada shuts out Russia 5-0

Noora Räty isn’t enough to save Finland from Team USA’s offense, and Canada’s offense is far too much for Russia.

Team Canada celebrates after a goal against Olympic Athletes from Russia during the Ice Hockey Women Play-offs Semifinals 
Laura Fortino, Natalie Spooner, Renata Fast, Emily Clark - names to know going into the gold medal game.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

USA vs Finland 5-0

Maddie Rooney gets the start again for Team USA, and as expected, Noora Räty is in net for Finland.

First period

Finland has a chance off a faceoff early, Petra Nieminen unable to get a shot off in the slot.

The puck goes the other way and Amanda Kessel has a chance on Räty, one Räty saves.

A long-range shot on Rooney is gloved. After the faceoff, Isa Rahunen misplays the puck at the blue line and lets USA push the puck out, stifling what could’ve been a good bit of pressure.

The first goal comes quickly. Jenni Hiirikoski plays the puck backwards around the boards in her own zone, and it’s intercepted by Meghan Duggan, who finds Gigi Marvin wide-open in the slot. Räty had no chance on that one.

Finland gets some solid zone time, and after the US has some trouble clearing the puck, Brianna Decker shoves Noora Tulus right into the boards face first. The Finns get the first power play of the game.

A point shot by Hiirikoski forces Rooney to make a save, but the puck is promptly cleared by the Americans. Susanna Tapani carries the puck back in easily—she’s so quick—and the Finns go back to work. Nieminen tries to feed the puck to the player at the front of the net, but the US is able to break up the pass and clear it.

Finland goes to retrieve the puck, with the US penalty kill checking them heavily, and it’s Kendall Coyne’s relentlessness along the boards that leads to Michelle Karvinen taking the Finns’ first penalty.

The four-on-four play passes without incident, and the US’s power play time starts off with Finland pressuring them shorthanded in their own zone. It takes the US a bit to get the puck away from the Finns and into the offensive zone, but Finland’s penalty kill is solid. The most threatening chance is at the end of the power play, a quick shot by Emily Pfalzer. She gets a second shot off a few seconds later after the play has returned to even strength, but Räty makes both saves.

A Knight shot from the high slot is blocked by Ronja Savolainen.

A hard shot by Decker is saved by Räty, and no one is able to collect the rebound lying by Räty’s pads. Finland escapes the US power play for a second time.

A Cameranesi shot from the left hash marks is handled by Räty.

Marvin attempts to redirect a shot from Haley Skarupa as it goes through her legs, but doesn’t manage to put it in.

Bad knee-on-knee hit by Meghan Duggan, and Savolainen goes down hard and slides headfirst into the boards. Savolainen stays down for several minutes, in visible pain. She’s eventually helped off the ice by her teammates. I have no idea how the referee didn’t call that as a penalty, and it’s possible Duggan could face supplementary discipline for a hit like that. It was dirty.

It takes the Finns a little while to regroup—understandably, as seeing a teammate go down like that is hard.

A Kessel wraparound attempt is stopped by Räty. Kessel looks particularly motivated in this game to try and score on her former teammate and friend, but no success so far.

A hard shot by Duggan is saved by Räty, and the Finns collect the rebound before any damage can be done. Hiirikoski carries it into the Finnish zone and is tripped up by Amanda Pelkey, and Finland will go back on the power play.

Coyne’s hard pressure on the penalty kill again causes Finland some problems, and she almost gets herself a scoring chance. Once Finland finally gets the puck back into their zone, Riikka Välilä has an opportunity in front of the net but can’t convert.

Emma Nuutinen takes a pass right in front of the net, but she deflects it wide. It’s the best chance Finland will manage; their power play is not managing consistent pressure at all. Team USA’s speed is a huge advantage on the penalty kill.

Monique Lamoureux manages to get a fantastic turning shot off under a lot of pressure, and I legitimately thought she’d put it past Räty for a moment (she had not).

US almost has a rush going the other way, but a diving play by a Finnish player (Hiirikoski, I think—seems like a safe bet, anyway) is able to force a turnover in the neutral zone.

A bad pass by Tapani in Finland’s zone is picked off by Dani Cameranesi, and she wires a perfect shot past Räty to make it 2-0 USA.

Cameranesi gets a chance on the next shift, too, a close shot that misses the net. She’s been especially noticeable this period. The Finns are able to hold the US off until the end of the period, but they’re not creating much offense at all—they’re held to only two shots on goal this period, while the US has eleven.

Second period

Savolainen is back on the Finnish bench at the start of the second period, which is certainly a surprise. She looked pretty bad leaving the ice.

US picks up right where they left off, putting three shots on Finland in the first shift, ending with a turning attempt by Coyne that Räty bobbles a bit before saving.

Kessel is forced wide of the net by the Finnish D, flings the puck through the slot but Raty sprawls out and keeps it out of the net before Hannah Brandt can put it in at the far post.

Annina Rajahuhta sends a shot well wide of Rooney. Finland’s getting into the US zone, but they’re not getting anything that looks like dangerous chances, and they’re not staying for very long.

Nice defensive play by Minnamari Tuominen to strip Pannek right in front of the net, and Finland is able to break out and take the puck into the US zone.

Räty’s been doing a lot of work so far, and I haven’t seen Finland take a shot yet.

Strong play on Coyne by Hiirikoski, who is able to stay with her despite Coyne’s speed and shiftiness. The same shift turns into a shooting gallery—a Lee Stecklein shot from the point goes wide, bounces to the front for another attempt, and then a third shot on the same play by Coyne is finally smothered by Räty.

Great play by Karvinen on Brandt to strip the puck in the neutral zone. Karvinen gets it to Välilä, but Välilä doesn’t take the shot, instead looping around the net. Nothing comes of it. She tries the same play again but the centering pass goes nowhere.

There’s a good defensive play on Pannek by Hiirikoski, and then on the same shift Monique Lamoureux gets a strong shot away from right in front that Räty saves. Hiirikoski is just so good, no matter what else is happening on the ice. She seems like she’s everywhere; I assume her ice-time from this game will be insane, just like all the other games this tournament.

Rosa Lindstedt intercepts a Megan Keller pass in the neutral zone and sends it back, but still, the Finns really aren’t able to get any kind of consistent offensive pressure going.

That’s the second bad giveaway I’ve seen by Tapani this game, a sloppy backhand pass she fanned on and basically handed to Hilary Knight. Räty’s able to bail her out this time, but yikes. Look where you’re passing, Susanna.

The Knight-Decker-Coyne line goes on to have a strong shift. They’ve looked better in this game than I’ve seen them play so far.

Nieminen weaves into the US zone, but she’s all alone with no support.

J. Lamoureux has a chance on the rush, but while she’s able to evade Nuutinen, she’s still got Lindstedt to handle and isn’t able to put it in.

A strong shot by Karvinen is the scariest chance Finland’s had yet, but Rooney makes the save and nobody is able to pick up the rebound.

Some rough stuff in the corner between Coyne and Sara Sakkinen, and Sakkinen is called for elbowing. The US will go on the power play, again.

A backhand shot by Knight from right next to the crease is stopped by Räty, just to make sure everyone’s paying attention. Finland clears it, but once the US are back in the zone Lindstedt puts Coyne right into the boards for another penalty. The US will have almost a minute and a half of 5 on 3 play.

The US looks dangerous as hell up by two players. Cameranesi puts a shot off the side of the net, looking for another goal. The Finns aren’t able to clear the puck, and after ceaseless cycling, Pannek sends a cross-ice feed to Jocelyne Lamoureux that she’s able to hammer in with only two seconds of 5 on 3 time left.

The Finns then have a half minute of 5 on 4 power play left to kill, and the US doesn’t need all of it. Hilary Knight tips a Sidney Morin point shot in front of the net, and the US turns two Finnish penalties into two goals.

Tanja Niskanen promptly gets a shot off on Rooney, Finland’s sixth of the game. That sentence, more than anything, says where the problem lies with Finland this game. They haven’t made Rooney work at all.

Venla Hovi strips Morin of the puck right next to Rooney’s cage, but she has to pass it up to the point, and Rooney handles that less-dangerous shot easily.

Rahunen takes a penalty for interference, but after only twenty seconds of power play time, Knight checks Hiirikoski into the boards and evens it up to 4 on 4. Neither team threatens much despite the extra ice, and Finland isn’t able to get anything going during their twenty seconds of power play either.

As the period is ending, M. Lamoureux tries to slide around the front of Räty’s net and almost puts it past her—Räty has to reach behind her and keep the puck out with the paddle of her stick. The play leads to another penalty for Finland, a hooking call on Sakkinen. The US will have almost a complete power play to start the third.

Third period

The US power play looks dangerous from the start again. Räty has to make a save on Kacey Bellamy, but it’s the second power play unit that converts. Some gorgeous passing by Kessel and Brandt is finished off by Cameranesi, who blasts a shot from square up in the slot. Mira Jalosuo lunges to try and block it, but she’s not successful.

It looked like J. Lamoureux was about to get a breakaway before it was whistled for offsides, which is a break for the Finns. They’ve dug themselves a deep enough hole.

Välimäki tries to put a backhand shot between Rooney and the near post and is denied. The Finns are mostly in damage-control mode. They’re in a 5-0 hole, and are just not managing to get shots on Rooney, let alone scoring chances. The US is solidly controlling play.

That might lead to the US feeling a little too comfortable, though, as a defensive breakdown proves. A point shot from Tuominen is almost put in by Tapani after it bounces high off Rooney, although the US is able to sweep it out of danger.

A Knight giveaway is almost sent the other way by Jalosuo, but the US is too quick and collects it. Cayla Barnes gets off a dangerous-looking point shot through traffic, and Räty has to make a tough save. There really is a noticeable gap in speed between the teams, and it makes the US much more threatening on the rush. Their ability to force turnovers and then quickly transition into getting the puck out of their zone and to the other end of the ice is impressive.

A quick try from Kessel at the far post bounces through the crease. That Minnesota alum line of Kessel, Brandt, and Cameranesi has shone this game, especially Cameranesi, who’s already got two goals.

Gigi Marvin gets dumped in the Finnish crease after a tip attempt, but there’s no call. A few minutes later, she bounces a shot off Räty, but is unable to bat in the rebound. I was deeply dubious about moving her to forward, and that may still prove to be a mistake against the Canadians, but she’s looked strong tonight.

A Pfalzer shot through traffic looks dangerous, but it doesn’t result in anything. The US seems to be happy to take their time here, comfortable with their lead.

In the dying minutes, Barnes has a shot blocked. Decker is stripped of the puck at the Finnish blue line for a final rush, but the Finns aren’t able to do anything with it, losing possession once they get into the offensive zone.

The US handily wins this one, 5-0. Shots for this game ended 38 for the US, 14 for Finland. Team USA will move on to the gold medal game, and Finland will face the loser of Canada vs Russia for bronze.

Riikka Valila #13 of Finland plays the puck infront of Danielle Cameranesi #24 of the United States during the Ice Hockey Women Play-offs Semifinals 
Riikka Valila #13 of Finland plays the puck infront of Danielle Cameranesi #24 of the United States during the Ice Hockey Women Play-offs Semifinals
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Canada vs Russia 5-0

Shannon Szabados gets the call in net for Canada, with Valeria Tarakanova a surprise at the other end for Russia.

First period

Canada starts with possession, keeps possession.

Natalie Spooner passes from behind the Russian net to Jennifer Wakefield in front and it’s 1-0 Canada on a pretty little snipe that’s also registered as the first shot in the game. Blayre Turnbull gets the secondary assist.

Russia breaks into the Canadian zone briefly for the third time and sends a long shot on net that Szabados handles easily. It’s their first of the game. We’re just over four minutes in and it’s pretty clear her big issue is going to be staving off boredom.

Sarah Nurse comes into the Russian zone alone while the Russians are on a change. No go.

Mélodie Daoust gets a shot and a great rebound that Tarakanova stops.

Angelina Goncharenko goes to the box for hooking. The ensuing Canadian power play has its good moments but they have some coordination problems as well.

Russia gets their first sustained zone time and there’s some scuffling at the side of Szabados’ net. Eventually Jillian Saulnier gets the puck out.

The Russians start to gain the zone a little more consistently and tie up Canada in the neutral zone. A couple of offsides and some icing for Canada.

Russia gets a 3 on 2. An Anna Shokhina shot rebounds to Yelena Dergachyova and Szabados is pretty much just lucky she finds the puck behind her instead of behind the goal line.

Second Canadian power play this time a tripping call on Yekaterina Lobova. Canada gets a number of chances at the Russian net but the puck also comes out a couple of times. Laura Fortino gets a shot from in close that a couple of player thought had gone in but the puck got caught in Tarakanova’s skates.

Mike Lee continues the completely erroneous narrative about Brigitte Lacquette being the first Indigenous athlete on Team Canada. Reminder that Jocelyne Larocque is Métis, one of the alternate captains of this team, and has played over 100 games with Team Canada.

Liana Ganeyeva has a nasty looking shot but Szabados handles it.

Shots were 11-6 for Canada

Second period

Russia gets in to the offensive zone much faster and Valeria Pavlova gets the first shot on Szabados.

Rebecca Johnston with a nice shot that Tarakanova handles.

Icing for Russia.

Canada is attacking in waves now, not letting Russia carry the puck out of the zone, only re-setting when the puck comes out offside. Finally, it pays off.

Daoust feeds Marie-Philip Poulin with Meghan Agosta screening Tarakanova. Poulin puts a shot in backhand and it’s 2-0 Canada.

Seconds later Poulin is sent off for a bodycheck and Russia has their first power play. The best player on the kill is Szabados. Emily Clark and Laura Stacey eventually get the puck out and kill off a nice chunk of time in the Russian zone.

Fortino has another chance that gets tipped but is cleared before it goes in.

Another power play for Canada. Johnston gets a shot on net with Haley Irwin in front but Irwin can’t handle the rebound. Russia eventually clears but has to scramble lest their line change turn into a too many men call.

Turnbull shot followed by an attempt by Spooner that she can’t get to settle.

About three sticks are lying on the ice in the Russian zone. Hard to believe none of those came out of any hands in a fashion that would draw a penalty.

I wouldn’t describe what’s going on as total Canadian dominance, but the Russians aren’t getting much in the way of opportunities either.

Mike Lee keeps going on about Tarakanova’s size and certainly having a goalie who’s 6 feet and 192 pounds is a bit of an advantage for the Russians.

Jillian Saulnier is stood up by Yekaterina Smolina and it’s another power play for Canada on the bodycheck.

Anna Shokhina is down on the ice after a high stick by Lacquette that gets her in the throat. A whistle goes and she’s surrounded by her team. No penalty to Canada, unsure if the officials even saw what happened. Not sure it was intentional by Lacquette but that’s the second game today that officials have missed a serious injury during play and that is completely unacceptable.

Canadian power play resumes but there’s no further scoring.

The horn sounds. Shots were 14-4 in favour of Canada. A better period for them but if they want to practice for Wednesday they should pick up the pressure in the third.

Third period

Slow start, a couple of icings at both ends.

Laura Fortino sends the puck around the boards behind the Russian net to Jennifer Wakefield and it’s 3-0.

Seconds later, Laura Stacey sends the puck towards the net as she’s falling and Emily Clark bangs the rebound in for her first Olympic goal, 4-0. Two goals in 31 seconds. That’s more like it.

That’s the end of the line for Tarakanova and Nadezhda Alexandrova comes in in relief.

Lyudmila Belyakova rushes in and gets a shot on Szabados that’s turned away.

Another high stick goes uncalled, this one on Daoust.

Pavlova gets an opportunity but Szabados redirects that one.

Shokhina sends a long shot from the blueline and Szabados gloves that.

Dergachyova is called for tripping so another Canadian power play. Laura Fortino blasts a shot but is denied by Alexandrova. Shot by Johnston, who might have the highest number of shots on net this game, also turned away. Lacquette to Daoust and Alexandrova comes right out of her net but she has it.

Penalty expires, Canada keeps coming.

Dergachyova gets into the Canadian zone but Lacquette is on her and while the puck gets to Szabados it’s not much of a shot. Dergachyova takes exception to Lacquette but it’s broken up without a call.

Wakefield fires off another shot that’s stoppped by Alexandrova.

Meaghan Mikkelson goes down in the corner and Yekaterina Lobova goes off for the bodycheck.

Daoust gets the puck to Irwin who puts it on net. Meghan Agosta looks to have batted it in but there’s no call. Rebecca Johnston gets the rebound on that and this time it’s a goal, 5-0 Canada. Finally, a power play goal.

Russia calls a timeout. It er, doesn’t help much.

Szabados goes behind the net to play the puck and is taken down by Yevgenia Dyupina. Lacquette goes right after her and Szabados goes after Lacquette to calm her down. Dyupina gets two minutes for goaltender interference and she and Lacquette get coincidentals for roughing.

Canada finishes the game on the power play, and even as the time ticks down they aren’t playing keep away. Russia gets the puck out a couple of times but Canada keeps trying to bring it back in.

Game over, another shutout for Szabados, and Canada’s heading to the gold medal game for the sixth consecutive time.

Canada got better throughout this game and I can only hope that continues into Wednesday.

Russia will take on Finland for bronze at 2:40 am on Wednesday morning and Canada faces USA for gold at 11:10 pm Wednesday evening. See you then!