Three goals and an assist from Natalie Spooner helped Canada to a 5-3 win over Finland at their IIHF women’s world championship semifinal on Sunday, taking the host nation to Monday’s gold medal game.
Spooner scored in the first period after the Finns had taken a lead through Saana Valkama. The Canadians responded with a power play goal assisted by Brigette Lacquette and Marie-Philip Poulin.
Finland goaltender Meeri Raisanen was the game’s star through the first 37 minutes keeping Finland tied 1-1 despite being badly outshot. Her influence on the game dampened when Meghan Agosta pounced on a loose puck at 17:29 of the second, with Spooner and Lacquette providing the help. Through two periods Canada outshot Finland 30-9.
Shorthanded, Spooner broke away early in the third to beat Raisanen for her second goal and a 3-1 lead, Canadian captain Poulin sending her the length of the ice to register the assist.
Finland had four third period power plays and pulled the goalie on three occasions, during the second of which Michelle Karvinen converted for Finland to pull her team back within a goal at 3-2.
On its fourth power play of the period, Finland pulled Raisanen once again but this time paid a price, giving up a shorthanded empty net goal to Blayre Turnbull to fall behind 4-2 to Canada.
Remarkably on the same power play, once again with the Finnish net empty, Spooner completed her hat-trick with a pass from Poulin for the 5-2 lead.
Finland clawed one back before the final whistle with Saila Saari scoring to make it 5-3.
With the tournament on Canadian ice in Kamloops, British Columbia this year, the Canadians head to their 17th consecutive tournament final, where they’ll face the United States.
A Canada-USA final has occurred at every one of the 17 tournaments that have taken place since IIHF introduced the women’s event in 1990, which has been played only in non-Olympic years since 1997.
USA has won the last two world championship finals at Canada’s expense.
Canada has won this title 10 times to six for USA.
Monday’s final will be broadcast live on TSN at 10:30 p.m. ET. Prior to that Finland will play Russia for the bronze medal. USA dumped Russia 9-0 in the other semifinal.
Canada and USA played in the group stage, where the Americans beat the host nation 3-1 (more on this below).
Game 3: Canada 6-1 Finland
The 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship is underway in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Last year, Canada finished the tournament with a silver medal, falling to the United States in the final. The Canadians are looking to win their first world title since 2012. In the preliminary round, Canada is in Group A, facing the USA, Russia and Finland.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, and the bottom two teams will play in the quarterfinals.
Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin put her team on the board first, 64 seconds into the game. While the Finns were on the powerplay, Meghan Agosta stole the puck away, sending it over to teammate Natalie Spooner. However, Spooner was unable to turn the play into a goal. Near the end of the first period, Finland had a chance to score, but Emerance Maschmeyer held her ground and didn’t let anything past her. In the second period,Rebecca Johnston scored Canada’s second. Canada couldn’t relax just yet, as Poulin received a tripping penalty, leading to a goal from Petra Nieminen right after the face off.
That would be the closest Finland got to the Canadians. Three goals from Brianne Jenner, Jillian Saulnier and Jennifer Wakefield furthered Canada’s lead. There was a scary moment when Agosta skated into teammate Tara Watchorn and fell to the ice and was slow to stand up. Agosta left the ice and headed to the dressing room. It was nothing serious, as she returned to play the last period.
In the third, Wakefield scored again, making the final score 6-1 and giving Maschmeyer her first win at the world championship.
Finland and the Czech Republic will play their quarterfinal game on Saturday. Canada will play the winner on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. ET, for the chance to advance to the final.
Game 2: Canada 8-1 Russia
For their second game, Canada got off to a slow start, unable to score any goals in the first period, and allowed Russia to get on board first. However, things turned around immediately in the second period, with Rebecca Johnston scoring Canada’s first goal shorthanded 40 seconds from the start. Canada continued to dominate the game, with Halli Krzyzaniak and Jennifer Wakefield scoring goals past Russian goaltender Anna Prugova less than 60 seconds apart. Russia made a goalie change, putting Anna Sorokina in the game. She didn’t do any better, as Meaghan Mikkelson then got two shots past her. Mikkelson had the chance to make it a hat trick on a penalty shot, but Sorokina made the save. The period ended with Krzyzaniak getting another goal, and Canada leading 6-1.
In the third period, Canada added to their tally with a short handed goal from Marie-Philip Poulin and a final goal from Emily Clark. Canada faces Finland on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET for its next game.
Game 1: Canada 1-3 United States
Canada opened the tournament playing their archrivals, the United States on Monday night. The game was a battle of the goaltenders, Canadian Emerance Maschmeyer against American Alex Rigsby. For the first two periods, both goalies stopped every shot that came their way. At the start of the third period, Laura Fortino finally got a shot past Rigsby with Canada on the power play. However, that would be Canada’s only goal of the game. The Americans responded with goals from Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker. Team captain Marie-Philip Poulin had a chance to tie the game seconds after Decker’s goal, but her shot hit the crossbar. Near the end of the third period, Canada pulled Maschmeyer in hopes of tying the game, but were unsuccessful. Knight scored an empty net goal with 20 seconds to go.