Canada ready to defend gold

WW18: Finland's historic goal not enough

07.01.2011
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Stora Mossen Stockholm  Sweden

Team Canada is ready to defend their title. Finland still gets a shot at the bronze medal. Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / HHOF-IIHF Images

STOCKHOLM – You take what you can get. While Team Canada beat Finland 6-1 in the World Women's U18 Championship semi-final, the Finns found consolation in their first ever goal against Canada.

Last Sunday, Canada beat Finland 6-0, scoring two in each period. Tonight, Team Finland made Finnish hockey history by scoring one against Canada. However, Canada still got their six, and advances to the final.

“Finland played a strong game, but our power play worked, and I liked our work ethic,” Canada’s head coach Sarah Hodges said.

Team Finland knew what it was up against, and early the team looked to be focusing on good defensive play, looking to capitalize on their chances when they’d get them. Canada gave the Finns an abrupt wakeup call early in the game when Emily Fulton beat Isabella Portnoj in Finland’s goal at 5:05.

Sarah MacDonnell made it 2-0 with 4:14 remaining in the game.

Canada outshot Finland 42-8 in the first two periods, with the Finns getting just three shots on Ann-Renée Desbiens’s goal in the first.

It took Canada eight minutes into the second period to score their third. Fulton fired a shot from the blue line, and Cayley Mercer grabbed a loose puck that bounced of the plexiglass to the front of the net and beat Portnoj to make it 3-0.

Two minutes and six seconds later Nicole Kosta fired a shot from the corner. The puck hit Portnoj’s skate and went into the net for 4-0. Shelby Bram added another for Canada with 3:32 remaining in the period.

In the third period, Canada’s strong skating forced Finland to take penalties, but it took Canada three power-play opportunities to score. However, they did score, thanks to Cydney Roesler, who made it 6-0 at 9:01, beating Tiina Ranne in Finland’s goal.

With two minutes remaining, Finland’s Saana Valkama, the team’s OT hero in the game against Sweden, forechecked the puck to Susanna Tapani, who beat Desbien with a wrist shot low on her stick side. It was Tapani’s third goal in the tournament. The assist was Valkama’s third point.

Canada advances to the final, and is ready to defend its gold medal from last year.

“It’s been so much fun, it’s such an honour to represent your country. Now we’ll do everything we can to win that gold medal tomorrow,” said Shelby Bram.

“We have to keep doing the little things right, like we have been in the tournament, and stay alert in the defensive zone,” she added.

RISTO PAKARINEN
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