Finland Earns First Win Over Canada in Women's Hockey With 4-3 Victory

Finland Earns First Win Over Canada in Women's Hockey With 4-3 Victory

Finland believed they could beat Canada in women’s hockey.

They proved it Saturday with a 4-3 upset of the Canadians at the women’s world hockey championship.

The closest Finland had come previously to victory was a 6-6 tie in an exhibition game in 1999.

Ronja Savolainen scored the winner at 18:19 of the third period. Her shot squeaked under the pad of Genevieve Lacasse as the Canadian goaltender slid toward her right post.

The Finns mobbed goaltender Noora Raty for a team hug after the game, but their celebration was curiously short-lived after an historic win.

“The Finns are kind of never too high, never too low. We’re pretty neutral,” Raty said. “We don’t show much emotions, whereas North Americans are really rowdy and loud and that’s their style.”

Finland has beaten the U.S. before at the 2008 world championship and also in a pre-Olympic tournament game in 2009.

The Canadians had been tough to topple because of their strong team game, Raty said.

“It’s huge for our confidence,” said the 13-year veteran of the Finnish team. “We’ve known it’s close, but it’s just been close. We finally did it, so now we know we can do it.

“We’re not just saying we can beat them because we actually beat them.”

Canada (0-2) concludes the preliminary round in Pool A on Monday against Russia (1-1). Finland (1-1) takes on defending champion U.S. (2-0).

The Canadians now face a longer route to Friday’s gold-medal game. They need to win their quarter-final Tuesday, instead of getting a bye to the semifinals as they have for years.

Canada lost 2-0 to the Americans to open the tournament Friday. Against the Finns, Canada again didn’t pay the physical price to get to the net enough.

“I don’t even think we were thinking about the historical aspect of it,” forward Brianne Jenner said. “We’re giving it our all right now and we’re not clicking. We’re just really struggling right now.

“This is a really resilient group. I think we’re going to find a way to come back, but it doesn’t feel great right now. Those are two games where we just struggled to find the chemistry.”

The Finns have been closing the gap on the Canadians the last two years, engaging them in all three zones, instead of putting all their efforts into defence and hoping for a lucky goal as once did.

Finland went for an upset of Canada in last year’s semifinal in Kamloops, B.C., pulling their goalie for an extra attacker on three power-play chances in the third period before falling 5-3.

A costly turnover by Canada in the first period and a soft goal by starter Emerance Maschmeyer in the second opened the door for Finland, who led 3-2 heading into the third.

Read more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/finland-earns-first-win-over-canada-in-womens-hockey-with-4-3-victory/article34552899/

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