Canada wins, Hiirikoski sets record
by Andrew Podnieks|25 AUG 2022
Canada's Sarah Nurse #20 celebrates with Jocelyne Larocque #3, Marie-Philip Poulin #29 and Brianne Jenner #19 after scoring a first period goal against Finland.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Marie-Philip Poulin had a goal and assist in the opening period to lead Canada to a 4-1 win over Finland tonight at KVIK Arena in Herning.

The game was an historic one for Finland’s star defender and long-time captain, Jenni Hiirikoski, who was playing in her 14th Women’s World Championship tournament, a new record. And, every game that she plays she extends her record for WW games played, which now stands at 76, well ahead of Karoliina Rantamaki (69).

"I would not be here if I didn't enjoy coming to the rink," Hiirkoski declared. "Every day I enjoy being a hockey player and an athlete. It's awesome to be part of this kind of group. I don't know how long I'll play, but I will keep pushing myself."

"There are always things that you can do better, cleaning up some of the details in our game," said Canadian defender Meaghan Mikkelson of tonight's game, "but I think the big thing is that it's the first game of the tournament, and we know Finland is a strong opponent, and we came out with the win."
Finland vs Canada - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship
FIN CAN 25 AUG 2022
Be that as it may, Finland got off to a terrible start, thanks to a major penalty and game misconduct to Petra Nieminen for checking from behind. The major nullified a Finland power play, gave Canada a lengthy advantage, and cost Suomi one its best players.

"She's a big part of our team, but that's hockey," said Hiirikoski. "So many things can happen during the game, but you have to re-focus and continue. Overall, we have to do better making our own chances count, especially on the power play. We had a really good start tonight, good fighting spirit, but small things matter and we need to score."

And sure enough, Canada opened the scoring on this advantage. Canada’s captain, Marie-Philip Poulin, made a gorgeous pass to Sarah Nurse standing inside Finland’s box of four players around goalie Anna Keisala. Nurse tipped the puck high and in at 7:38.

But the Finns tied the game four and a half minutes later just as a Canada penalty expired. Michelle Karvinen’s point shot was blocked by Ann-Renee Desbiens, but the juicy rebound sat in the crease until Julia Liikala poked it home. 

Poulin was at her masterful best a short time later. Coming down the right side on an odd-player rush, she saw no passing options so took aim and drilled a perfect shot over Keisala’s blocker at 14:53. Pure magic from the world’s best player.

Finland had a fine chance to tie the game with 1.2 seconds remaining when Elisa Holopainen was hooked on a clear break. Kiira Yrjanen took the penalty shot and tried to be fancy, turning her back fully to Desbiens and twisting around to deke, only to shoot right into Desbiens’ right pad.

The teams played a close-checking second as Finland continued to take time away from the puck carrier and press their opponents in all areas of the ice. But Canada did spring free to up its lead to 3-1 at 13:01 thanks to some pressure in the Finland end.

Ella Shelton’s shot from the slot was stopped by Keisala, but Mikkelson was right there to snap in the rebound. It was a hard-earned goal, and it was her first since March 29, 2016, at the Women’s Worlds. It was just reward for coming back and making the team after suffering a serious knee injury. At 37, she is the oldest player on the team.

Canada ran into a bit of late penalty trouble, made worse by the fact that Sarah Nurse incurred her third minor of the game. But tenacious Canada took it to Finland and played much of the third in the offensive end. They added an empty netter courtesy of Blayre Turnbull, with 1:32 remaining.

Both teams have a day off before returning to action Saturday. The Finns have an early game against the U.S., and then Canada takes on Switzerland later.
Finland vs Canada - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship