In today’s games, Natalie Spooner marked a milestone, Japan dug themselves a bit of a hole, Finland cruised to victory and France gave themselves a reason to sing.
The IIHF has video highlights up for each game.
Czech Republic 3 vs Japan 1
In what was not quite a must-win game for Japan, both teams showed they were taking this game seriously by putting their starters Nana Fujimoto and Klára Peslarová in net for the third consecutive game.
The Czechs might have been a little overanxious—they got into penalty trouble in the second shift of the game for too many players.
Once the penalty had been killed off, Denisa Křížová opened the scoring with an assist from Michaela Pejzlová.
Vendula Přibylová followed that up five minutes later to make it 2-0 for the Czechs. Assists to Samantha Kolowratova and rookie Martina Mašková, who plays for the University of Regina. It was an all-college goal—Přibylová plays for the University of Maine and Mašková for the University of Vermont.
Frustration started to set in for the Japanese and Akana Hosoyamada was the first one to the box just a few seconds after the goal on a holding call. Mei Muira was next at 15:33 for slashing.
The second period was all penalties and no scoring. Suzuka Taka, Hanae Kubo and Sena Suzuki were called for interference, tripping and holding respectively. Fortunately for them, Japan has an effective penalty kill.
Team Czech got their next penalty at 15:44, captain Alena Mills went off for holding.
At the halfway mark of the third it looked like Japan had scored. The goal was reviewed and denied but because Aneta Tejralová stopped the puck by covering it with her hand and she is decidedly not the goalie, Japan was awarded a penalty shot. Unfortunately Peslarová was up to the task.
Less than 90 seconds later, Natálie Mlýnková gave Japan a power play with a tripping call. Hanae Kubo took advantage to score and cut the Czech lead in half, 2-1.
Japan called their timeout with under two minutes to go and pulled Fujimoto with just under a minute left. It took Tereza Vanišová ten seconds to take advantage of the empty net, and Fujimoto returned to her goal with the score at 3-1.
Despite the number of Japanese penalty kills, they kept the shots against relatively low, with the Czechs winning the shot count 27 to 12. Klára Peslarová was the player of the game for the Czech Republic and Haruka Toko was the player of the game for Japan.
Japan needs to stay out of the box if they’re going to stay in the Top division for another year. It’ll be winner take all in their clash with Sweden tomorrow morning. Meanwhile the Czech Republic has guaranteed themselves a spot in the quarter finals, and better yet, they know it won’t be against USA.
Finland 6 vs Switzerland 2
Noora Räty got a rest for this one, sitting on the bench while Evelina Suonpää got her first start of the tournament. Janine Alder, who was the sacrificial lamb for the game against USA, wasn’t even on the bench as Andrea Braendli was given the net for Switzerland’s final game in the round robin. Lara Stalder again spent the game in the stands.
Not the most auspicious start for Switzerland as Phoebe Staenz collided with one of her own players.
Finland dominated play early, although they were generally kept to the outside. Staenz and Noemi Rhyner were the first ones to make any attempts on Suonpää.
Play evened up some as the halfway mark approached and both teams had periods of offensive zone pressure before settling into something resembling end to end action.
Sanni Hakala went down courtesy of a Swiss defender when she was challenging for a shot. The crowd wanted a whistle but they didn’t get one.
Switzerland scored first! The Finnish defenders thought they’d retrieved the puck from the Swiss attackers but some quick stick work and some good positioning in front of the net turned confusion in front of Suonpaa into a goal for Evelina Raselli, assisted by Rahel Enzler.
Finland answered back immediately with a goal by Susanna Tapani, who deflected a point shot past Braendli. The goal was reviewed for a high stick but ultimately judged good. 1-1, Jenni Hiirikoski and Riika Sallinen with the assists.
Alina Mueller forced her way into the Finnish zone to go one on one with Suonpää but her backhand just missed.
At the other end, Annina Rajahuhta looked to have put Finland ahead 2-1, shoving a puck from a Venla Hovi rebound past Braendli’s outstretched pads. Back upstairs again to check for players in the blue paint and the goal was called off, despite protests from the home crowd and a very disapproving look on Pasi Mustonen’s face.
It looked like it was going to be an entirely clean period until Sinja Leemann shoved a Finnish player off the puck and earned a penalty for bodychecking with 2:30 left.
Finland took less than 30 seconds to capitalize on the opportunity as a Hiirikoski shot was deflected by Rosa Lindstedt to take the lead for real this time. 2-1, with a secondary assist to Noora Tulus.
Another chance for Mueller, another save for Suonpää.
Finland started the second period putting pressure on the Swiss—maybe a little too much. Tapani went off for interference less than a minute in.
Switzerland’s power play began with an icing call that was subsequently called off, although Mustonen seemed fairly incredulous about that. Regardless, the Finns won the subsequent faceoff and the first time Switzerland entered the offensive zone there was less than a minute left in the power play.
Dominque Rüegg grabbed a turnover in the offensive zone and went for Suonpää, who had no trouble making the save.
Another unnecessary penalty for Finland, this one a tripping call on Michelle Karvinen. Switzerland got set up much better for this power play and a shot from the hash marks by Alina Mueller finally beat Suonpää clean to tie the game 2-2. Nicole Bullo got her first assist of the tournament.
Nice save by Braendli on a corner shot, followed shortly afterward by a pretty little steal by Lisa Rüedi, who still managed to lose it at the blue Finnish blue line.
Some particularly fierce pressure from Finland ended with Braendli falling on the puck.
A point shot from Rosa Lindstedt gave Finland the lead, deflected by Linda Valimaki while Swiss defenders were shoving her into the ice. 3-2 with an assist to Isa Rahunen.
Finland gained the Swiss zone and set up a shooting gallery. It took at least four shots to finally beat Braendli, a backhand by Karvinen shovelled up and over a crowd and past Braendl’s shoulder. 4-2, assist from Hiirikoski, 2:48 left in the period.
Mueller had another opportunity denied by Suonpää, and then it was back in Switzerland’s zone again.
Switzerland ended the period on the penalty kill when Sara Forster went off for hooking with 40 seconds left.
Finland continued to dominate play, with a few opportunistic moments for the Swiss but the score remained unchanged.
Sanni Hakala and Kaleigh Quennec collided accidentally (women’s hockey players are traditionally bad at keeping their heads up) but Quennec was going almost full-tilt, and it left both players stretched out on the ice in a silent arena. They both managed to get up and make their way off the ice but it was a scary moment.
Minnamari Tuominen, who plays for the local Liiga team, Espoo Blues, widened Finland’s lead to 5-2 with assists from Sallinen and Karvinen. Still over half a period left but it was becoming clear it would take a miracle for Switzerland to avoid going winless in the round robin.
Michelle Karvinen batted in a goal while Braendli was down and out after Susanna Tapani and Swiss defender nearly crashed into the goalie. Jenni Hiirikoski earned the secondary assist. 6-2.
Suonpaa dealt handily with a rare Swiss shot from Raselli off an offensive zone faceoff.
Finally the buzzer sounded to end Switzerland’s torment. Shots in the game were 45 to 17 in favour of Finland. Dominique Rüegg was named player of the game for Switzerland and Susanna Tapani was player of the game for Finland.
France 3 - Germany 2 (OT)
France has its other Caroline in goal, Lambert, while the Germans go with stalwart Jennifer Harss in net.
France starts off with a bang. Less than thirty seconds in, and Lara Escudero charges in and snaps a shot on Harss that goes right past her, almost like she wasn’t set for it. 1-0 France.
Despite this, the Germans take control of play pretty quickly. France has a bit of trouble getting it out of their zone, and it’s turned into a bit of a German shooting gallery. This is a much more aggressive Team Germany than I am used to!
Lambert’s looking solid, though. She makes a good save on Marie Delarbre early in the period, and soon another on a point shot through traffic.
The neutral zone is, objectively, a mess so far—turnover city. There’s a great zone entry maneuver by Raphaelle Grenier but she loses it as soon as she hits traffic in the German zone.
After a shot by Andrea Lanzl that Lambert saves, instead of holding onto it, she tries to push it to her teammate but Lanzl is right there and almost recovers it. Lot of excitement from Team France here early in the game, not all of it the good kind!
France is still getting chances, though. A great shot by Lore Baudrit from the high slot has Harss looking behind her, although it stays out.
So far the Germans are the better team, but France is giving this one all they have. This is messy and chaotic and delightful hockey.
A great pass pickoff by Laura Kluge at her own blue line, and she sends it the other way—it almost leads to a goal but Lambert is there. France does take a penalty, though, and Marion Allemoz heads to the box for Germany’s first power play of the game.
A bad attempted clear by a French player goes right into Julia Zorn, who passes it over to her teammate at the hash marks. It is only the grace of Caroline Lambert that keeps it (and the rebound) out of the net. Hoo boy.
Other than that heart-pounding moment, France continues to have a pretty solid kill, as seen in their game against Sweden. They kill it off!
Right after the power play ends, a shot by Bernadette Karpf is saved in a scramble, but the Germans come right back with more pressure. It’s Nicola Eisenschmid who finally evens up the score. 1-1.
Estelle Duvin puts a shot on Harss immediately after but Jenny squeezes it to her chest.
A nice move by Andrea Lanzl to loop the French defender on the rush and take a short side shot on Lambert, but she can’t put it in.
Germany is still dominating the pace of play, but France looks a little more disorganized now. Also, the amount of tipped passes already in this game is hilarious. Everyone’s getting their sticks in everyone else’s passing lanes.
Eloïse Juré goes off with just under three minutes left, giving Germany their second power play of the period. Lambert stops a point blast, Baudrit takes it the other way and puts a soft shot on Harss that she gloves and returns to play. France is pressuring Germany hard in their own zone, keeping one of them behind the net looking for an outlet pass for a good stretch of valuable power play time. They’re actually doing a great job on the kill again until Escudero flattens a German along the boards with about thirty seconds left on the kill, and then it’s 5 on 3.
Germany is being slightly more deliberative about 5 on 3 than I would, but even so, there’s an absolute scramble at one point—Germans peppering shots on a sprawling Lambert, and also Athena Locatelli, who’s dropped into the net to help out her goaltender. Somehow—and I am genuinely not sure how—the puck manages to stay out long enough for Lambert to corral it. Amazing.
That’s Germany’s last good chance of the first. The period ends with the score tied 1-1.
France kills off the last 39 seconds of the penalty, with some help from their goaltender.
Chloé Aurard tries to get a shot off on Harss but can’t quite get everything on it.
There’s a shot from the hash marks by Kerstin Spielberger and it looks like it goes through Lambert—she might have gotten some of it, but she didn’t get it all. 2-1 Germany.
A nice shot from in close by Nina Kamenik but Lambert is square up to make the save.
Emmanuelle Passard tips a pass and charges in on the rush with Aurard, but her centering pass to Aurard can’t make it through traffic. Passard just collects the puck again and takes the shot herself. Harss saves it, but it’s the best chance I’ve seen from France in the past few minutes.
The amount of turnovers in this game is dizzying!
There’s a collision in France’s slot and Jade Vix goes sprawling. Julia Zorn heads to the box, and France will get their first power play of the game.
France gets some decent chances! At one point, Passard and some other teammates are digging at the puck next to Harss, but she stands strong and manages to eventually cover. They hold the zone for a while, and when the puck eventually leaves the zone, it’s due to a mishandled pass, not German defense. They don’t get a ton of shots off, but it’s so organized.
Germany kills it off, but Delarbre immediately heads back to the box for slashing, giving France a second crack at the power play. This time, they don’t waste it. Estelle Duvin hammers a shot from the point, and it makes its way through heavy traffic in front of Harss and into the net with the help of a tip from Lore Baudrit. It’s 2-2, and France is delighted.
Chloé Aurard comes in with speed, pulls of a nice little give and go move, and before she can take a shot is promptly dumped by Spielberger. Giving France a third power play this period is not what I would personally do if I was Germany, but neither is allowing Aurard to take a point-blank shot, so.
Only about 30 seconds into the power play, Daria Gleissner goes off for interference, and France gets a whole minute and twenty-three seconds of 5 on 3. Amandine Cuasnet tries a long-range shot looking for a tip in front, but Harss saves it. Yet again misplayed passes leaving the zone (more than one!) burn off precious seconds of 5 on 3 time, and they can’t convert. “Holding the blue line” should be a focus for this coaching staff going forward.
Aurard almost tips a shot/pass past Harss but she can’t quite get her stick on it. Later, she snaps another shot off Harss—you can hear the entire crowd get loud whenever France looks like they might have numbers on the rush. There’s a very vocal contingent of Team France fans on hand!
Germany is still running the show, but France is getting more and more opportunities. At some point, one of these rushes is going to go in—Marion Allemoz almost gets a goal this time.
France has not really ascended to the level where they should be trying no-look drop passes, and someone needs to gently let them know that.
I think the word I’d use to describe France’s play this period is “opportunistic”—it’s not that they’re getting the majority of the chances, but when they get them, they’re getting decent ones. They’re good at exploiting Germany’s mistakes.
We start off the third with a Lambert save on German point shot.
Raphaëlle Grenier goes to the box after a scuffle in the corner, giving Germany an early-period power play.
Alexandra Harrison pins the puck against the end boards for several valuable seconds, and then is eventually able to clear it to the other end. Escudero is dragged down in the slot on what should have been a shorthanded chance, but there’s no call. Even so, France kills this penalty off with ease.
And we’re back to messy chaos turnover hockey. God, this game is fun.
Baudrit eventually gets enough of a separation from a defender to get a shot, but she misses the net.
The puck takes a dangerous-looking bounce over Lambert, but none of the Germans hovering in the area can get a stick on it to put it in. They’re also hammering long-range point shots looking for a tip, but can’t seem to get anything through. France is doing a lot of shot-blocking this period.
Interesting play by Harss to just bat the puck away with her paddle as she has Aurard bearing down on her. It works, but wow, if I was in the third period of a tied game and was looking dead-on at one of the other team’s best scorers, I might cover.
A fantastic one-woman show from Emily Nix, who grabs the puck, loops her way around the net, and puts a shot on Lambert all by her onesies. Great display, even if it doesn’t lead to a goal.
We’re just trading chances in a track meet now.
Chloe Aurard has another chance! That girl wants a goal really, really badly. I didn’t notice her as much during the Sweden game, but she’s been all over the place today in a very good way. She’s so fast and good at putting herself in the right spot.
A good shot by Escudero, who gets her own rebound and tries again, and then a teammate frantically tries to put in the loose puck in on the backhand while on her butt in the slot. France wants this.
A centering pass from Escudero on a two on two misses Clara Rozier.
There’s a great play by Léa Villot at the line to bat the puck out of the air with her stick and hold the zone.
A shot from the hashmarks by Germany is steered aside by Lambert, and there’s no one to tap it home. This seems to be a theme for both of these teams.
Laura Kluge tries to force her way through several French defenders and into the slot, but she loses the puck.
With less than a minute left, a German goes sprawling in the French zone, and Estelle Duvin is sent off for tripping. Germany’s got a power play to end the period, which will carry over into 3 on 3 OT if Germany doesn’t score before the end of regulation.
Spielberger almost ends the game with a rebound sitting square on Lambert’s doorstep, but the French scramble and are able to get the puck and clear. Regulation ends with the teams tied 2-2, and no matter how they fare in OT, France has officially earned their first point in the top level standings.
Germany starts OT with 1:15 of power play time. Delarbre has puck control and ends up losing it when she is tripped by a ref, which is not great reffing, honestly. This is followed by some kind of stoppage and discussion which I cannot understand because there’s no announcing in my stream. It might be a clock dispute?
Germany is doing a great job holding the zone and running the cycle, unsurprisingly having an easier time at 4 on 3 than 5 on 4. They’re getting shots off, but Lambert holds strong and France kills off the penalty. We go to 3 on 3.
It’s heart-pounding, and both teams get some chances, but France only needs the one. Lambert makes a save at one end, and Chloé Aurard—who has looked amazing all game—collects the puck and turns on the damn jets. She flies down the ice, puts just enough room between herself and the German defender, makes a beautiful move on Harss and pops it in right before crashing into the net.
Players of the game are Tabea Botthof for Germany and Lore Baudrit for France.
France has officially won a game at top level, and even though they will be relegated, this is an amazing achievement for them. This is a team that will be back, and probably pretty soon. It’s fitting that 20-year-old Aurard, the shining beacon of the next generation of French women’s hockey, is the one to score the game-winner for their first top-level win.
Canada 5 vs Russia 1
She’s BAAACK! Marie-Philip Poulin leaves the bench to take her place as first line centre for the first time this tournament. Geneviève Lacasse gets her first start of the tournament, with Emerance Maschmeyer backing up. Anna Prugova starts for Russia with Nadezhda Morozova as her backup. Also back for Russia is Anna Shokhina, who was serving a suspension for a kicking infraction at Pyeongchang.
Poulin goes straight for the net off the faceoff. Doesn’t quite beat Prugova but clearly she’s ready to score.
Loren Gabel launches a point shot right into Prugova’s glove.
Canada isn’t letting Russia get much of a look at Lacasse.
Mélodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston combine for a chance but Johnston can’t finish.
Olga Sosina tries to go for a breakaway but she can’t avoid Renata Fast and doesn’t make it very far past the blueline.
Russia gets the first penalty of the game, a tripping call against Nina Pirogova. The Canadian power play gets busy and so does Prugova in net. The Russians kill it off, mostly due to Prugova.
Gabel gets dragged down by Yelena Dergachyova and Canada’s on the power play again. Still can’t beat Prugova.
Dergachyova gets the puck right out of the box but puts her shot wide under pressure by Brigette Lacquette.
Another laser from Gabel saved by Prugova.
The Russian parade to the box continues with Liana Ganeyeva off for hooking, and Canada finally breaks through! Natalie Spooner scores her 50th goal as a member of the senior national team, tipping a Lacquette shot up past Prugova. Rebecca Johnston gets the secondary assist.
Blayre Turnbull has a close call, but Prugova gets her pad out.
Meanwhile we’re told Poulin went to the bench in some pain so that is Not Good.
Alexandra Vafina tries to get something going for the Russians but she’s diverted by the Canadian defenders and her pass misses her teammate.
Johnston fires one on but is denied.
Sosina makes a zone entry but again, the Russians can’t connect.
Lacasse finally makes a save, her first in ages.
Shots for the period are 15 to 3 in favour of Canada.
We’re told Poulin has reinjured the knee and is done for the game, maybe the tournament.
Early icing for Russia.
Jill Saulnier takes a whack at a puck and a Russian player feels she was whacking Prugova more than the puck and cross-checks her. There’s some shoving in front of the net, but no call.
Canada’s getting shots but aren’t there for the rebounds.
Sosina comes in chased by Ann-Sophie Bettez. They end up in a board battle behind the Canadian net before play heads back to the Russian zone. Russia ices the puck again.
Rebecca Johnston gets the puck off the faceoff, circles the net and fires to make it 2-0, assisted by Daoust.
Laura Fortino circles the net and sends a backhand high.
Spooner shoots and Turnbull’s there for the rebound. She beats a falling Prugova to make it 3-0. After 23 shots, Prugova’s day is done and Nadezhda Morozova comes in less than halfway through the game.
Mélodie Daoust comes in alone and tries to deke Morozova but the goalie stretches out to stop the puck.
Natalie Spooner gets a rebound and... sends it along the crease.
Another power play for Canada as Vafina goes to the box for hooking. As has been demonstrated on other power plays today, I would like to point out that Erin Ambrose is Good at Hockey.
Spooner tracks down a Brianne Jenner shot off the boards behind the net and gets the wraparound to make it 4-0 on the power play. Assist to Sarah Nurse.
Russian icing again.
Nurse comes in too fast and can’t really deploy her backhand before she encounters Morozova.
Hat trick for Natalie Spooner and it’s 5-0, another behind the net and in, assist going to Fortino. Canada’s really making use of the extra ice back there now.
Nurse keeps trying to score and just isn’t getting the stars to align.
Gabel and Jenner try a give and go but Morozova is there.
The Russians get a zone entry with 20 seconds to go but they get exactly zero shots on goal to Canada’s 18 for the period. Canada could still step it up here, turn it into a half-ice game, practice for the quarter-finals, but Russia really doesn’t have a hope of getting back in this.
Early power play for Russia, with Jenner sent off for roughing after an altercation with Sosina. The first shot is from Liana Ganeyeva. It gets redirected by a Canadian defender in front and Russia is on the board, 5-1. Maria Batalova and Yelena Dergachyova get the assists.
Russia comes in hard and forces Lacasse to make a glove save.
A few good chances for Canada, eventually answered by Fanuza Kadirova ringing one off the crossbar at the other end.
Russia is getting more chances, three shots on goal now. Canada’s got to shut that down, they can’t let themselves step off the gas if they’re going to try and beat USA without Poulin.
Jamie Lee Rattray wrists one but Laura Stacey’s in front and she inadvertently makes a shoulder save.
Shokhina grabs a turnover and breaks away to take a slapper on Lacasse, who comes out and shuts the door.
Rattray is sent to the box for... being shoved into Morozova by Shokina? It’s called slashing and Russia has another power play. Canada won’t let them set up though.
Stacey gets a shorthanded chance and goes charging in, denied by Morozova. The penalty expires, four minutes left.
Lacasse fights off a shot. The Russians keep it in for a bit but can’t maintain.
Another shot for Valeria Pavlova. Lacasse has seen very little action but she’s still looked good.
Sosina apparently takes a puck to the throat in the last seconds, so that’s a worry for Russia going forward.
Players of the game are Anna Shibanova for Russia and Natalie Spooner for Canada. Shots were 37 to 5. Hopefully in tomorrow’s game against Finland we’ll see more of the second period play and less of the third—Finland’s not nearly so forgiving.
Tomorrow is the last day of the round robin and another full schedule. Japan faces Sweden in a battle to avoid relegation, USA takes on Russia, the Czech Republic plays Germany in search of a perfect record and Canada plays Finland for second place in Group A at 12:30 pm.