Finland vs Russia 3-2
No surprises in goal this game—Russia goes with Nadezhda Morozova, who’s gotten the most time in goal for them this tournament, and Noora Räty is in for Finland, looking to tie Florence Schelling’s recently-set Olympic wins record.
The Susanna Tapani-Michelle Karvinen-Riikka Välilä line starts off strong. Tapani gets at least three shot attempts off in their first shift alone, and Jenni Hiirikoski also puts one on goal. Karvinen catches the Russians by surprise with a turnover and sends a backhand pass to Linda Välimäki, but Morozova is able to make the save.
Russia looks overmatched from the start, and after about a minute and a half of offensive pressure Maria Batalova takes a cross-checking penalty on Välimäki right in front of her own crease.
Finland’s power play burned Russia the last time these two teams met, and that remains true this game. Petra Nieminen deflects Minnamari Tuominen’s shot out of midair, and Russia’s already gotten themselves in a 1-0 hole.
The line of Anna Shokhina, Yelena Dergachyova, and Alevtina Shtaryova is finally able to get the puck into Finland’s zone, but they’re not able to get a shot off on goal. Finland forces them out, and Russia finally gets their first shot on goal, a floater from the blue line that Räty gloves easily.
Great play by Emma Nuutinen to carry the puck end-to-end and maneuver to put it on goal, but neither she nor Noora Tulus can score.
The Russians get a quality chance, a faceoff win in their own zone leading to a rush up-ice, Olga Sosina sending a cross-ice pass that’s almost finished off with a nice shot by Lyudmila Belyakova that barely misses. Later that shift, the puck bounces in on Räty and Belyakova tries to poke it home before Räty covers.
A turning shot by Batalova goes wide. Russia’s starting to wake up; they’re looking more like themselves then they did during the initial few minutes.
Shokhina tries to make an outlet pass and instead almost turns the puck over to Annina Rajahuhta, right at the top of the Russian zone. Jeepers.
Dergachyova sends a shot in that bounces off the post before Räty’s able to grab it.
Close call for Russia with a quick shot from Venla Hovi, it bounces off Morozova and over the cage.
Nice pickoff by Tulus at the red line, interrupting a Russian rush, but after going back into their own zone to regroup Russia’s able to force another turnover in the neutral zone.
Angelina Goncharenko has her shot blocked by Rosa Lindstedt, Russia has to go back and regroup before entering again.
A give and go between Sosina and Yevgenia Dyupina is broken up when Sosina can’t quite receive the finishing pass.
A collision between Nuutinen, Morozova, and Dergachyova when Nuutinen tried to crash the net and jam home a rebound led to both Nuutinen and Morozova down and in pain (apparently, Nuutinen accidentally speared them both with her own stick). Morozova stays in, and Nuutinen goes to the Finnish bench.
Dangerous chance for Michelle Karvinen right in the crease, but she gets too fancy with it—tries to pull it through her legs, and isn’t actually able to hit the open net to finish.
Diana Kanayeva can’t put in a loose puck in front, and Finland collects it to send it the other way.
Russia takes its second penalty of the game after another shift in the Finnish zone, a not-great hooking penalty along the boards. While Finland is still able to get some passing going, Russia is much better this time at keeping them to the outside of the zone, and they manage to clear it several times. They kill it off, without any really heart-stopping moments, either.
Ronja Savolainen carries the puck in and dances around the zone for a while, but she doesn’t have anyone to pass to and her attempt to send it up to the point goes out of the zone. This is a fast game, and Savolainen stands out as especially fast.
So does Dergachyova, who is able to slide right around the back of Räty’s cage and fire a puck off her pads. I don’t know what that Finnish defender was doing on that play, but it was nothing good. Dergachyova’s slippery.
Hiirikoski strips the puck away from Kanayeva in the neutral zone, because she’s Jenni Hiirikoski, and she’s too good for your nonsense.
Välilä and Tapani have a good chance on a two-on-one, but Goncharenko breaks up Tapani’s pass before she can get a shot off. Great defensive play.
Savolainen gloves a puck down in the neutral zone and is off to the races on a breakaway (helped by Nina Pirogova tripping over her own feet), but the puck rolls off her stick when she tries to make a move on Morozova.
After the first couple minutes of Finland running all over the Russians, this was a pretty back-and-forth game. The first period ends with shots on goal even at nine apiece.
Right off the faceoff, Tapani and Karvinen combine on a gorgeous goal. Karvinen skates the puck in on the rush, and makes like she’s going to carry the puck around the back of the cage, but instead passes the puck to Tapani who’s got space at the top of the cage. Tapani puts it in, and the second period gets off to a great start for Finland, making the score 2-0.
It is unsurprisingly Russia’s top line that’s able to put the first pressure of the period on Russia. They’re able to hold the zone for their shift, and Dergachyova gets off a really good chance that Räty saves.
Russia takes advantage of that offensive zone faceoff, though. They’re able to keep the puck in, and after Belyakova wins a board battle, she turns and fires the puck cross-ice to Sosina at the hash marks. Sosina one-touches it past Räty—it deflects in off her glove. Lovely shot, lovely goal, 2-1.
Shortly thereafter, Finland takes their first penalty, Tuominen for body-checking. Russia’s power play doesn’t have the best start—Karvinen gets a really good shorthanded chance, as a matter of fact, off a lovely saucer pass by Välilä. Finland’s doing a good job of controlling the play and not giving Russia chances, up until Savolainen puts Kanayeva right into the boards behind Räty. That’s a bad penalty to take, and Russia has over 30 seconds of 5 on 3 time.
Finland kills off the 5 on 3, the most dangerous chance coming off Pirogova in the slot right as the first penalty was expiring. Russia just isn’t good at protecting the puck on the power play, and as soon as Finland gets Tuominen back, their power play looks inefficient again. Tapani gets a strong shorthanded chance after a neutral-zone faceoff, but the Finns manage to kill off both penalties without incident.
Before Russia can really get anything going at 5 on 5—they seem better at evens, oddly—Yekaterina Lobova hooks down Nuutinen and Finland goes back onto the power play. Karvinen ends up with a clear shot on Morozova after a total breakdown of Russia’s structure, and sends it off the crossbar. Rosa Lindstedt takes a shot from down low, and neither she or the low forward on Finland’s power play can knock it home before Morozova covers. Russia manages to kill this one off, too.
Finland’s top line just dominates when they’ve got the puck in Russia’s zone, passing it around and generally looking scary as all get-out.
Quick shot from Sanni Hakala in the slot, Morozova’s able to fight it off.
A great pass from Venla Hovi to Välimäki, who cuts across the top of the crease and flips it in on her backhand once Morozova’s down. It’s 3-1 Finland.
Välilä almost makes it 4-1 moments later on a nice backhand attempt, but Morozova’s able to dive on top if it and cover.
A dangerous shot from Isa Rahunen is almost deflected by Rajahuhta past Morozova, but she’s able to track and catch it, despite bobbling it slightly.
The Finns are really leaning on the Russians now. A turning shot from Nieminen is smothered by Morozova, after another strong shift of pressure.
It’s the Shokhina line that’s finally able to get it back into the Russian zone, because of course it is. Räty gloves a Pirogova shot from the point and ends that fun; Finland’s able to take it back out after the faceoff.
Pirogova comes in alone after a turnover, but her shot goes wide.
Scary moment as Belyakova comes in hard, easily outmaneuvers Savolainen, but after trying to put the puck through Räty trips and runs right into Räty’s head as she falls. Räty goes down hard and stays down for a distressing bit of time, but eventually picks herself up to applause. Belyakova goes to the box for goaltender interference.
Sosina’s able to get a shot off shorthanded early in the penalty, but then Finland’s able to get in and get set up. A strong chance by Karvinen is saved by Morozova, but generally, Russia does a good job of limiting Finland’s chances and clears the puck several times. A collision in Finland’s zone leads to Dergachyova going down hard—she’s slow to get up, and then skates off immediately to the bench. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it looked suspiciously intentional, despite no penalty called on the play.
Russia kills off the penalty, and the period ends soon after.
Strong chance by Dergachyova to start the period. It’s good to see her out there again; she’s definitely been one of Russia’s strongest forwards this game. She’s very nimble.
Hovi tries to curl around the net and put the puck in, but the puck slides off her stick as she tries a move.
Shokhina’s centering attempt doesn’t go, and Hiirikoski gets the puck out of trouble.
The first penalty of the period is Hiirikoski, a tripping call on Dyupina. Considering the sheer amount of time Hiirikoski spends on the ice for Finland, having her in the box is a great opportunity for Russia, whose power play has looked anemic so far.
Russia is definitely able to get much more pressure. They hold the puck in for the first minute and a half before Finland is able to clear, but it’s a breakaway for Belyakova that leads to a goal. She comes in all alone, makes a nifty move, and slides it between Räty’s skate and the post. Gorgeous. It’s back to a one-goal game at 3-2.
Sosina outmaneuvers Hiirikoski with a great move, but Räty bails out her defender.
A centering pass from Rajahuhta can’t be converted on by Tanja Niskanen, who’s unable to get a shot off through traffic in the slot.
Russia’s got more energy now that they’ve narrowed the lead. The Finns need to be careful; there are definite risks to sitting back against this Russian team.
A Karvinen shot through traffic is stopped by Morozova, despite a screen.
Mira Jalosuo clears a dangerous-looking loose puck out of the Finland zone, but it goes all the way down to the other end for an icing. Finland’s able to push the puck back to the Russian zone after the faceoff, though.
Another chance for the Karvinen line, after Tapani carries the puck in, with Karvinen trying to spear the puck towards the goal and not succeeding.
Dergachyova and Pavlova come in hard on a 2 on 1, but Pavlova fans a bit on the shot and can’t put it in. It’s a beautiful pass by Dergachyova, though.
Moments later, Rahunen takes a body-checking penalty on Shokhina, giving Russia a power play. It lasts for about twenty seconds. Shokhina tries to play an airborne puck, and her stick hits Hiirikoski’s helmet, putting her in the box. It’s almost a full power play’s worth of 4-on-4 hockey.
A hard hit sends Sosina to the bench, which is bad news for Russia.
Fanuza Kadirova is able to carry the puck in, but she’s all alone, and is only able to get off an ineffective bachkahd that misses the net.
Sosina comes in all alone shortly after—whatever made her leave the ice, it wasn’t bad enough to get her to stay off in the dying minutes of the bronze medal game. She gets a great chance off, but it misses the net by inches.
The Russians keep Morozova in net, despite the close score, which is exceedingly weird to me. Russia’s not managing to keep good control of the puck, either, but it seems like a strange risk not to take. Finland’s just clogging up the neutral zone at this point.
They ice the puck and Russia has one more chance, an offensive zone faceoff with about eight seconds left on the clock. Finland is able to pin it against the boards, though, and they manage to pull out the win. The Finns take bronze, and Russia will finish fourth.