Eight O Canada
by Risto Pakarinen|08 JAN 2023
Caitlin Kraemer scored twice and lled Canada to a convincing win over Finland
photo: Chris Tanouye / IIHF

Canada was determined to leave nothing to chance in their opening game of the tournament. They outshot, outscored, and outworked Finland, scored six goals and bagged a convincing 8-0 win. 

Canada's Caitlin Kraemer picked up three points and Arianne posted a shutout. Kerttu Kuja-Halkola made 40 saves for Finland. 

"The team played great and we're really happy with the outcome. But we're just getting started,"  Kraemer said. 

Finland and Canada played a pre-Worlds game on Thursday and Finland came out on top, 4-3, proving that anything is possible and that the gap between Canada and the rest of the hockey world can be bridged. But that's why we play the games, goes the old proverb. To find out the better team on a given day.. 

"For a lot of us it was the first time we represented our country and it was a great way to get our nerves out and realize what we needed to work on," Kraemer said. 

Canada vs Finland - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship
CAN FIN 08 JAN 2023

In the teams’ opening game at the U18 Women’s Worlds, Canada pulled the drawbridge up again, leaving Finland on the outside, looking in. 

"Not sure if they played better this time, but our defensive play wasn't as good today. we made mistakes, and that'äs something you can't have in these games," said Finland coach Mira Kuisma. 

Team Canada outshot Finland 37-3 in the first two periods, and, more importantly, they outsored the Finns 5-0. Caitlin Kraemer opened the scoring about four minutes into the first period, when Emma Pais won a puck race into the Finnish zone and found her alone in front of the Finnish goaltender Kerttu Kuja-Halkola. The Kitchener Ranger didn’t miss. 

With eight minutes remaining in the period, the Canadians cycled the puck and played it to Kraemer in front of the net, and the 16-year-old doubled Canada’s lead, assisted by Alex Law and Emma Venusio. 

"It gave us the momentum and energy. It just happened to be me," Kraemer said. "It was pretty cool but overall, I'm just happy with the team's performance."

While Canada dominated the play and kept the ouck in the Finnish zone most iof the period, their third goal came off a rush. Alexander MacKenzie won a puck battle at the offensive blueline, carried the puck into the Finnish zoen and found Abby Lunney all by herself between the Finnish defence. She looked up and fired the puck in through Kuja-Halkola’s five-hole for 3.-0, at 8.32. 

After two minutes of play with 4-on-4, Abby Stonehouse jumped out of the penalty box and was taken down by a Finnish defender. While the Finns were waiting for the referee to call the penalty, Keira Hurry fired a wrister that beat Kuja-Halkola on the glove side. Kraemer’s assist ion the goal was her third point of the game. 

In the next shift, Piper Grober took a page from Hurry’s book and fired a hard wrister from the slot and gave Canada a 5-0 lead in the game, with just 26 seconds remaining in the second period. 

Finland came back with poise at the start of the third period and could create a couple of chances on powerplay, but as soon as Canada had killed the penalty, another defensive zone turnover proved costly for Finland. Law and Gracie Graham laid the groundwork and Stonehouse wired in Canada's sixth goal after four minutes of play. 

Eloise Caron sealed the final score on powerplay with 4:45 remaining. 

"Everything can get better," said Kraemer.

That's bad news for the other teams in the tournament. 

Canada vs Finland - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship