Golf Medal Game
Canada – United States 1-4 (0-1, 1-1, 0-2)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – The United States won its second consecutive World Women’s Championship gold medal and its third in the nation’s history after defeating rival Canada, 4-1.
The win puts the Americans ahead of Canada in the IIHF Women's World Ranking for the first time since the system was introduced in 2004. It is also the first time that the U.S. has beat Canada in back-to-back Women’s World Championships.
It was another classic duel between the two top teams in women’s hockey as it was anybody’s guess which would walk away with the gold until Caitlin Cahow put in her second goal midway through the third period to give the Americans a 3-1 lead. The goals were Cahow's first of the event. The two-goal lead, with just over 12 minutes left, was the largest lead for either team.
After the opening moments not many of the 3,000 fans would have guessed the score would be close through almost all 60 minutes. The Americans pounced on their first shift when Hilary Knight fed Caitlin Cahow a spot-on pass for the 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into action. It was the fastest-ever goal in a gold medal game. For Canada, the goal came with more bad news as defenseman Carla Mac Leod was shaken up on the play.
Canada regrouped and held the U.S. scoreless for the rest of the period and the game settled into a typical USA-Canada game with speed, skill and scoring chances.
Canada goaltender Charline Labonte made a few key saves early in the second period and her team responded with an odd-man rush goal, tying the game 5:11 into action. Caroline Ouellette fed Jennifer Botterill who put the puck past U.S. goaltender Jessie Vetter. But the U.S. was quick to restore its one-goal lead when, five minutes later, Jocelyne Lamoureux threaded a pass to Meghan Duggan, who was in the middle of four red jerseys, yet got her wrist shot in the net.
Cahow’s second goal broke a 17-minute stalemate when she scored on a rare power-play chance on a one-timer from the slot. After the goal Vetter had to earn her keep as Canada was desperate to cut the lead, but she stood firm and stopped the slew of shots. Canada pulled Labonte in the last minute of play, but it backfired when Hilary Knight put in the empty netter as the clock ran down.
Vetter finished the game with with 39 saves, while Labonte, who was named the Best Goalkeeper, made 26 saves.
Canada sill leads the gold medal race with a hefty 9-3 margin at the World Women's, but with the 2010 Olympic Games coming up in Vancouver, and the U.S. as the two-time reigning champion, this rivalry is sure to continue to heat up.
Bronze Medal Game
Finland – Sweden 4-1 (1-0, 1-1, 2-0)
HAMEENLINA, Finland – It was another memorable meeting between rivals Finland and Sweden in the World Women’s Championship bronze medal game. This time it was Finland earning the win, and the bragging rights, against Sweden with a 4-1 win.
Both teams were visibly tense before the game as the bronze medal game has turned into a gold medal-like event for the rivals.
The thee-goal margin of victory is deceptive as the Swedes were neck-in-neck with the Finns until Michelle Karvinen struck midway through the third period. Denmark native Karvinen was the hero for the Finns, putting in two key goals.
Karvinen opened the scoring, sending up a hearty cheer from the blue and white clad crowd. She put in a rebound between the legs of Valentina Lizana. The teams exchanged rapid fire goals in the second period with Mari Pehkonen giving Finland a 2-0 lead 2:28 into action. Sweden was quick to counter, and keep the Finns from pulling away, when Danijela Rundqvist slammed in the 2-1 goal less than two minutes later.
Finland surged ahead for the win in the third period, scoring a pair of goals less than five minutes apart in the first half of the stanza. Mari Saarinen put in a rebound 3:34 into the period after a slapshot by Anne Helin took an odd bounce off Lizana.
The fourth Finnish goal was one for the highlight reels when Karvinen stormed the net from the boards, kicked the puck to her own stick in front of the crease and then wrapped the puck in the far corner. The picture-perfect goal, essentially ended the Swedish hopes for bronze medal.
The teams were even in virtually every category in the first 40 minutes, matching each other shot-for-shot and even penalty-for-penalty. It wasn’t until Karvinen’s second goal that the Finnish fans relaxed and celebrated the bronze triumph.
The Finnish fans came out in full force on Easter Sunday to cheer their team onto a medal. A crowd of more than 3,000 was announced, the second-largest of the championship.
It was the eighth meeting for the bronze medal between the nations. Finland now holds a 6-2 advantage in World Women’s bronze medal games against Sweden and has nine bronze medals to its credit.
Best Goaltender: Charline Labonte (CAN)
Best Defenseman: Jenni Hiirikoski (FIN)
Best Forward: Hayley Wickenheiser (CAN)
Best Goaltender: Jessie Vetter (USA)
Best Defensemen: Carla Mac Leod (CAN); Angela Ruggiero (USA)
Best Forwards: Michelle Karvinen (FIN); Julie Chu (USA); Natalie Darwitz (USA)
MVP: Carla Mac Leod (CAN)