ZURICH – Canada dominated Finland for most of the game and earned a well-deserved 4-1 win and a trip to the gold medal game on Monday. The win keeps Canada’s perfect record alive, the team having appeared in the final game of every women’s tournament ever played since women's hockey started as an IIHF event in 1990.
The teams combined to tie a World Women's record for most total shots in a game with 94, Canada firing 78 and Finland just 16. Only twice has one team had more than 78 shots in a game.
"Their goalie was outstanding last game and again today, but we knew it was just a matter of time that the pucks are going to go in if we keep shooting," said Jayna Hefford. "We wanted to put pucks on net, and we did that today."
Canada opened the scoring at 10:17 of the first period when Rebecca Johnston came out from behind the net as goalie Noora Räty made a save. Johnston got to the puck first and backhanded the puck high over Räty.
But the Finns remembered their good start and didn’t give up. They came right back just 86 seconds later and Michelle Karvinen backhanded a loose puck over the outstretched glove of Charline Labonte. Not only did it tie the game, but it was the first goal Canada had allowed all tournament, ending a shutout streak of 191:43.
Marie-Philip Poulin-Nadeau put Canada ahead with just 56 seconds left in the period during a 4-on-4 situation. The team controlled the puck in the Finnish end before Poulin-Nadeau banged home a loose puck, her third goal of the tournament. It wasn’t the prettiest goal, but it was important.
If the first period was tense and evenly played, the second was dominated by the Canadians. They maintained possession in the Finnish end for most of the period and launched a series of point shots with a maze of players in front of Räty. Sometimes the shots hit the goalie; sometimes the puck went wide or was deftly deflected, but after 40 minutes it was still a 2-1 game. Labonte didn’t have to make a quality save in the period. Shots after two periods favoured Canada, 56-12, but Finland was still only one shot away from tying the game.
"We knew we had to be patient," Hefford said. "We just tried to outwork them and keep to our game plan and good things would happen."
She was right. Just 43 seconds into the final period, Canada opened a two-goal lead when Hefford tossed a pass in front of the goal that went off the skate of a Finnish defenceman and in. Hayley Wickenheiser added a short-handed goal later in the period, taking advantage of a defensive miscue by Finland in front of Räty.