U.S. to play for gold
by Andrew Podnieks|12 JAN 2019
The U.S. was too strong for Finland in every aspect of play today.
photo: Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images
Team USA scored three goals in the first 8:09, chased Erica Jaskari from the goal, and coasted to a 7-1 win over Finland this afternoon in Obihiro.

The Americans now advance to tomorrow’s gold-medal game to play the winner of the Canada-Russia game later today. The Finns will play for the bronze medal earlier in the day against the Canada-Russia loser.

"We just focused on today," Katy Knoll, who said. "We can't worry about anything else. We had to come out hard because we knew Finland would come out with a good push. This is their chance to get a medal, and they've had an excellent tournament. But we had a four-goal first period, and that's exactly what we wanted."

Knoll had two goals and two assists for the winners and is now second in tournament scoring.

"Our team chemistry is off the charts right now," she continued. "We've had the same lines for the last two weeks or so, and I'm excited for tomorrow."

"I think we had some good moments," offered Finnish captain Nelli Laitinen, "but right now all we can do is preapre for tomorrow and trying to win a medal."
The U.S. doubled the shots on their opponents, 36-18, and were the more disciplined team, taking only two penalties to five for Finland. 
It took only 2:43 to get the scoring started. Hannah Bilka set up Katy Knoll for a close-in shot and just three minutes later Knoll returned the favour. Bilka wired a shot over Jaskari’s glove to make it 2-0.
Two minutes later, Abbey Murphy converted a nice three-way passing play, after which Finnish coach Mira Kuisma made the goaltending change, bringing in Aino Laitinen.
The Americans made it 4-0 late in the period on a power play when captain Dominique Petrie knocked in a loose puck from the top of the crease.
Although the Finns played much stronger in their own end in the second period, they simply couldn’t get by the American defence to create scoring chances or even sustained puck possession in the offensive end. They skated well and made a valiant effort, but the U.S. were faster and stronger on the puck.

"They came out with a really strong push, which we expected after the first period, but also we tried to too much fancy stuff in their zone," Knoll said. "We decided we needed more looks at the net, more poeple at the net."

The Americans found their touch again in the third. Kiira Yrjanen took a ncie pass from the corenr and found herself all alone with Vetter but lost control of the puck without even getting a shot off. The Americans skated up ice and made it 5-0, Knoll scoring her second of the game.

Then, on a power play, Sydney Bard made it 6-0 at 8:15, the game already well out of reach. Makenna Webster added another with a shot to the far side just two minutes later.

The Finns got their only goal at 15:14 of the third when a loose puck came to Julia Liikala in the slot. She wasted no time in whipping a shot over Vetter's glove.
USA vs. Finland (2019 IIHF WW18)