Swedes edge Finns in wild game
by Lucas Aykroyd|09 JUN 2022
Sweden beat Finland 4-3 in a dramatic affair in Group A action at the 2022 IIHF U18 Women's Worlds.
photo: Chris Tanouye / HHOF-IIHF Images
Advantage Sweden! The Swedes defeated the Finns 4-3 at LaBahn Arena on Thursday in the latest installment of the great Nordic hockey rivalry at the 2022 U18 Women's Worlds. It couldn't have been more dramatic, as the Swedes scored twice with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, including Jenna Raunio's winner with eight seconds left.

With the Swedes pressing furiously around the Finnish net, Raunio banged the puck through a swarm of bodies for the go-ahead goal. The play was reviewed by the officials and ruled good.

"It was fun!" said a giddy Raunio. "Fun to win."

Assistant coach Pernilla Winberg, who famously scored Sweden's 3-2 semi-final shootout winner versus the U.S. at the 2006 Olympics, described her team's mentality: "Believe in it and play smart, play simple, but also go for it. We needed to score and the girls believed in it when we [the coaches] told them that we do. We're excited to see the hard work, too, and we were really going for it."

It's Sweden's first win in Madison. The result gives Sweden a shot at improving its playoff seeding, depending on the outcome of the Canada-U.S. game that closes out Group A.

Ida Karlsson, Mira Markstrom, and Emma Pfeffer also scored for Sweden. Tuva Kandell, who had the lone goal against Canada, added three assists.

Coach Madeleine Ostling’s Swedes showed steady improvement from their 6-1 loss to the U.S. on Day One to their 3-1 loss to Canada. This was a huge character win.

"I guess we decided that we were not going to lose," Karlsson said. "And then it was a good feeling when we turned the game [in our favour]."

Julia Schalin, Adalmiina Makkonen and Pauliina Salonen scored for Finland, which rallied from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first period, but couldn't hold on to a 3-2 third-period lead.

Finnish coach Mira Kuisma was not pleased: "They have to prepare much better for the next game. I don't know if they're having so much fun that they forget why we are here. And we talked about that after the game. 

The Canada game, because we won that, is that the reason that we think that we can beat anyone without preparing?"

Finnish fans have been hoping for a breakout game from 16-year-old Sanni Vanhanen, who won a bronze medal at both the 2021 Women’s Worlds and 2022 Olympics. She registered her first two assists of the tournament, as did defender Siiri Yrjola.

"I think we should have won the game, but we weren't at our best as possible already from the first puck drop," Vanhanen said. "We did better at the end, but the last four minutes was really bad and Sweden got two goals."

The top two teams in Group A advance directly to the semi-finals, while the bottom two teams in Group A face the top two teams in Group B in the quarter-finals.

The Finns blanked Canada 2-0 in the opener – their first U18 Women’s Worlds win ever over the motherland of hockey – but then fell 5-0 to the defending champion Americans. Losing to Sweden like this was a tough pill to swallow.

Finland outshot Sweden 27-25.

In net, Finland's Emilia Kyrkko, who had a 40-save shutout against Canada, returned between the pipes. Sweden's Lisa Jonsson, who registered 53 saves in the 3-1 loss to Canada, got her second start.

Swedish assistant captain Mira Jungaker returned to the line up after missing the first two games. Just 16, Jungaker led all HV71 defenders this season with 21 points in 35 games.

"She's a very good ice hockey player, and we really needed her," said Kandell. "So that was very nice."
Finland vs Sweden - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship
FIN SWE 10 JUN 2022
The Finns used their speed to take it to Sweden early. Salonen tested Jonsson from the high slot on a solo dash. A Julia vs. Julia incident – Sweden’s Julia Perjus tripped Finland’s Julia Schalin in the Finnish zone – led to the game’s first power play, and while the Finns exerted good pressure around the Swedish net, they couldn’t find the range. It took Sweden more than seven minutes to get its first shot on net.

However, using the principle of quality over quantity, Karlsson opened the scoring at 10:43 on Sweden’s third shot. On the power play, the Leksands IF forward busted to the net and converted Kandell’s centering pass from the corner to Kyrkko’s right. It was Karlsson’s first U18 Women’s Worlds goal. When she made her tournament debut at age 15 in 2020, she was limited to one assist in five games.

"I crashed the net and then got a great pass from Tuva. So, all thanks to her!" said Karlsson.

Schalin struck back to tie the game at 14:54. As the Finns applied forechecking pressure, Oona Havana unleashed a hard wrister from the left faceoff circle and chased down the big rebound in the right faceoff circle. Schalin was alert to tip the puck past Jonsson. It was the first Finnish goal since 15:52 of the third period against Canada, when Havana made it 2-0 on a 5-on-3 power play.

At 17:32, Markstrom restored Sweden’s lead. Picking up the puck at the right point, she stepped in, stickhandled around Finnish blueliner Ada Eronen and zinged a low wrister in off Kyrkko’s right post.

In the second period, Schalin headed to the sin bin twice in a row, first after tripping Moa Gustafsson and then bumping Alice Wallin from behind into the boards, both infractions in the Swedish zone. The Finns sacrificed their bodies while killing off the second penalty, from Kyrkko's right-pad stretch to stop Swedish captain Nicole Hall's attempted conversion of a rebound to Vanhanen's shot-block on a Jungaker blast.

During Finland's next power play, Jonsson came up big to stop captain Anna-Kaisa Antti-Roiko from the bumper position, but just as the woman advantage expired, Makkonen's centre point shot sailed past the Swedish goalie on the stick side at 10:05.

"I got a great pass and I just shot and...hands in the air!" Makkonen said.

In the final stanza, Salonen gave Finland the lead at the five-minute mark when she waltzed into the high slot and surprised Jonsson with a long shot that dinged in off the goalie's right post.

The Swedes didn't give up, pulling their goalie with four minutes left to play. Pfeffer notched the equalizer at 17:50, tipping Kandell's low shot past Kyrkko. The Swedes went wild with joy, but they wanted the three points. Jonsson came out for the extra attacker again and Raunio was the heroine.

Neither Sweden nor Finland had ever scored more than three goals in a head-to-head matchup before this moment.

"The Canada game was awesome," said Salonen. "I think everyone was so excited and happy. The U.S. game was good but U.S. is a really tough team. This game was...this game. I thought that we should have won this game."

Interestingly, even though Sweden has fared better than Finland overall at the U18 Women’s Worlds, winning one silver medal and five bronzes to Finland’s two bronzes, Finland has dominated the rivalry overall. The Finns now have six wins and three losses versus Sweden.
Finland vs Sweden - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship