Canada, USA ready for semi-final

WW18: Finns, Czechs last to qualify for playoff stage.

Husby Ishall Stockholm  Sweden

Team Canada celebrates a second period goal, and a semi-final spot. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images

STOCKHOLM – Canada crushed Germany 8-1, and earns a bye to the semi-final. Team USA beat Sweden 10-0 to advance to the semi-final. Finland - Switzerland 4-1, the Czech Republic - Japan 4-1.

Quarterfinals (Jan. 5)
Germany vs. Czech Republic
Sweden vs. Finland

Semi-finals (Jan. 7)
Canada vs. Sweden/Finland
USA vs. Germany/Czech Republic

Relegation Round (best of three)
Japan vs. Switzerland

Schedule, scores and statistics
Photo gallery

Canada - Germany, 8-1

Nicole Kosta scored a hat trick as Canada recorded their third win in as many games in the tournament, beating Germany 8-1, and securing a bye to Friday’s semi-final.

Kosta opened scoring for Canada in her first shift of the game, an unpleasant start for Franziska Albl, making her first start in Germany’s goal. Kosta’s goal turned out to be the only goal of the period, despite Canada outshooting Germany 22-2.

As the game went on, Germany couldn’t keep up with Canada, also getting into penalty trouble.

Sarah MacDonnell scored the game-winning goal on a power play just 1:22 into the second period. Gina Repaci and Laura Stacey scored in a two-and-a-half minutes span in the middle of the period, and Kosta made it 5-0 with 2:25 remaining in the period.

Canada added three more power play goals in the third period, but Germany’s Jacqueline Janzen managed to get her fourth of the tournament to spoil Amanda Makela’s shutout attempt in Canada’s goal. Sarah Edney made it 6-0, Kosta capped of her hat trick with the 7-1 goal with 2:32 remaining in the game and MacDonnell got her second with 1:41 remaining.

Canada outshot Germany 75-12 in the game.Team Canada earns a bye to the semi-final, and will take on the winner of the Sweden vs. Finland quarterfinal.

Switzerland - Finland, 1-4

The Finns hadn’t scored a goal in the tournament before, but against Switzerland, they came “like gorillas out of a cage”, to borrow an expression from the Phoenix Coyotes’ goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

“We got a great start, and helped the team relax,” said head coach Juuso Toivola.

The Finns played the puck to the front of the Swiss net, and after a crease scrum, Saana Valkama slammed the puck past Sandra Heim, in for her third game of the tournament. Two minutes and eight seconds later, during a Swiss power play, Anni Rantanen intercepted a Swiss cross-ice pass at the Finns offensive blueline, and beat Heim with a wrist shot high on the stick side.

Switzerland took a timeout, and made a goalie change. Tamara Klossner got her first game of the tournament, and it turned into a busy one as Finland outshot Switzerland 17-6 in the first period.

Phoebe Stanz had a colorful period. First she failed to score a breakaway, then took two minor penalties, and at 17:09 was sent to take a Swiss penalty shot, when a teammate was tripped in a scoring chance.

Stanz made several dekes, left, right, left, right, and one more to the left, and beat Isabela Portnoj in Finland’s goal, making it a one-goal game after the first period.

The second period was goalless, with the teams exchanging scoring chances, but both goalies stood tall.

“We played two good periods, the first and the third, but maybe the players got a little nervous in the second,” said Toivola.

Switzerland got a golden opportunity to tie the game to start the second period when Susanna Tapani got a body checking minor. The Swiss couldn’t beat Portnoj, and when Tapani got out of the box, she cruised through the Swiss defence and gave Finland a two-goal lead, beating Klossner on the stickside. Klossner now unlocked, Tapani added another goal with 5:54 remaining, sealing the final score, 4-1 to Finland.

"The team played great in front of me, they didn't have really dangerous chances," said Finland's goaltender Isabella Portnoj, who's played all three of the team's games in the tournament.

"That's just great, I'm enjoying it," she said.

Switzerland will now have to play for its spot in the top division in a series against Japan.

"We got promoted last year so it's not a huge surprise we are where we are, but I think we've proved that we belong here. We'll definitely give our best in the (best-of-three) relegation round," said Switzerland's coach Dominik Schaer.

Finland will play Sweden in the quarterfinals.

Saana Valkama led the Finnish charge, scoring the first goal just 18 seconds into the game. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images
Czech Republic - Japan, 4-1

Marketa Vytiskova’s two goals helped the Czech Republic take the last quarterfinal spot in Group B. The Czechs will face Germany in the quarterfinals while Japan will play Switzerland in the best-of-three relegation round.

Vytiskova opened the scoring at 5:34 in the first period that the Czechs dominated.They outshot Japan 11-6, but the Japanese managed to stay in the game, thanks to Risa Ukita’s power play goal at 11:46.

Both teams had their chances in the second period, exchanging two power plays, but neither one could capitalize on them. With six minutes remaining in the period, the Czechs took the lead again, with a goal by Katerina Solnickova, and when Katerina Kaplanova made it a two-goal game with just six seconds remaining in the period, Japan was facing a steep uphill coming into the third period.

The Czech Republic could hold on to their lead, and when Japan pulled Shizuka Takahashi in favour of a sixth skater Vytiskova sent the puck into the empty Japanese net with a shot almost the full length of the rink, to seal the final score.

Marketa Vytiskova's two goals and Veronika Hladikova's 24 saves led the Czechs to a 4-1 win over Japan. Photo: Phillip MacCallum / HHOF-IIHF Images

USA - Sweden, 10-0

The shots on goal numbers tell the tale. USA 55, Sweden 4. The Americans kept the puck in the Swedish zone most of the game and only scattered skate marks were left on the clean sheet of ice in the U.S. zone.

Five minutes into the game, Hannah Brandt and Emily Field converted a two-on-one attack into an excellent scoring chance. Sofia Carlström made the first save, but Brandt took care of the rebound and gave the U.S. the lead at 5:31. Right after the faceoff, Michelle Lowenhielm got a tripping minor, and the American got to work. Ten seconds into the powerplay, Alex Carpenter onetimed Haley Skarupa’s excellent pass and beat Carlström from up close.

Five minutes later, Carpenter walked in to the Swedish zone undisturbed, and sent a wrist shot to topshelf, beating Carlström high on her blocker side.

Brandt, in turn, got her second of the game at 13:27, again assisted by both linemates, Field and Amanda Pelkey.

"We did a very good job of being consistent and staying on our game for the entire 60 minutes," said Jodi McKenna, head coach for Team USA. "Again, it was a good demonstration of the depth of our lineup."

As has been the case in the previous games, coach Jodi McKenna’s team didn’t let up even though few people in the soldout arena believed in a host team comeback. Team USA got three goals in the middle frame - by Field, Sydney Daniels, and Paige Savage - and another four in the last period, to make the final score a round 10-0.

Alex Carpenter and Emily Field scored two and added two assists each, Courtney Burke and Amanda Pelkey collected three assists. Megan Miller in the U.S. goal turned away all four shots she faced.Team USA will now have a couple of days off, before it takes on the winner of the Germany-Czech Republic quarterfinal.

“We’ll see how tired the girls are, whether we’ll practice or not. They’re not used to being on skates in eight straight days,” said coach McKenna.

Team USA has reason to celebrate. Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / HHOF-IIHF Images

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