Sweden – Finland 2 – 1 (0 – 0, 1 – 0, 0 - 1, 1 - 0 ) Game Sheet, Photos
Nordic rivals Sweden and Finland clashed in the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship for the second year in a row. And in a repeat of last year’s game, it took overtime to decide the winner. This time though, Sweden will advance 2-1 thanks to Matildah Andersson's game-winning goal .
After Emma Nuutinen scored the tying goal early in the third period, the teams went to the extra frame tied 1-1. Then at 7:27 into the extra period, Linnea Hedin got a pass to Andersson, who put it past Portnoj and put Sweden into the semi-finals.
Sweden took advantage of a lacklustre Finnish offence and forced Finland netminder Isabella Portnoj to carry her team early. Following a scoreless first period, Linn Peterson broke the deadlock with a goal just over a minute into the second period. Peterson also got an assist on Andersson’s game winner, giving her four points in four games and a share of the team scoring lead.
Despite letting in Peterson’s goal, Portnoj performed admirably through the opening two periods, making 22 saves while her team only managed to muster 13 shots on net by the start of the third period. Portnoj’s efforts eventually sparked her team in the third period. At 3:18 Nuutinen took the puck from Anni Rantanen and buried her first goal of the tournament.
Nuutinen’s goal, followed by a trio of Swedish penalties, turned the momentum in favour of the Finns, who pressured Swedish goaltender Sara Besseling while shutting down the Swedish offence. Besseling held the fort, however, and the two teams went to overtime, where the game ended on Andersson's goal. Besseling and Finnish defenceman Johanna Koivisto earned Best Player honours.
Switzerland – Russia 4 – 2 (1 – 1, 1 – 0, 2 – 1) Game Sheet, Photos
With the looming threat of relegation spurring both teams, Switzerland fought off a determined Russian squad to win 4-2. Swiss captain Phoebe Stanz had a pair of goals to help her team claim the first game of the relegation round.
Down 3-1 in the third period, Lyudmila Belyakova scored midway through the frame to bring her team within a goal of the Swiss, after missing on a penalty shot in the second period. The Swiss went on the penalty kill twice afterwards, but Lara Stalder’s earlier score in the period held out to be the game winner. Romy Eggimann added an insurance goal with three minutes left in the game to seal the victory.
The teams will face off in their second game on Friday, with Russia needing a win to keep alive their hopes of playing in the top division next year.