Canada to final after OT drama
by Risto Pakarinen|14 JAN 2023
Canada was a step ahead when it counted, and will play in the final. 
photo: Andrea Cardin / IIHF
Canada will play in the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship final after their overtime win over Finland, 3-2. It didn’t come easy, and it wasn't always pretty, but it was a win. Canada will take on Sweden in the final on Sunday. 

With two and half minutes remaining in the OT, Canada got on a 2-on-1. Murphy sent a saucer to the tape of Alex Law who took a shot, Kerttu Kuja-Halkola in Finland's goal made a save, but a second later, the puck was in the net. 

"I've only seen the replay a few times and it looked like their goalie was trying to find the puck and it went off her foot and in. We got a bit of luck here, I guess, but maybe [the luck] came from the posts and crossbars earlier in the game," Team Canada captain Jocelyn Amos said. 

"I couldn't have asked for more from the team, everybody left everything on the ice. But we still want to go home with a medal, and we should be able to win it if we lay like this," said Team Finland head coach Mira Kuisma. 

Alex Law scored twice for Canada; including the OT winner. Sanni Vanhanen and Pauliina Salonen combined for two goals and four points, Kerttu Kuja-Halkola made 38 saves for Finland. 

"It was a good game, Finland came out really hard, and they battled hard, and we knew we had to step it up and we had some big players step up for us," Team Canada captain Jocelyn Amos said. 

Canada steamrolled Finland in the preliminary round, but there’s a reason it’s called “preliminary round.” The Finns remember from last year that they can not only hang with the best but also beat them, even if Canada won the 2022 semifinal 2-1.

"We just had to stay focused on our game and what we do well," Amos said. 
Canada vs Finland (SF) - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship
CAN FIN 14 JAN 2023
Early on, it looked like it might become a long for the Finns. 

Canada sent wave after wave into the Finnish zone and managed to create several long cycles. At the end of one, Gracie Graham looked up and found Emma Pais on the other side of the ice. Pais fired a wrister and Abby Stonehouse re-directed the shot into Finnish net at 9.47. 

Canada outshot Finland 12-6 in the period. 

Canada invited Finland to come back into the game when Alex Law took an illegal hit minor less than 90 seconds in the second period and Eloise Caron a tripping minor seven minutes later. 

While the Finnish powerplay didn’t impress, Finland tied the game thirty seconds after Caron’s penalty ended. Julia Schalin drove hard to the net and fell across the crease, but the puck stayed behind and Sanni Vanhanen dove to the ice and pushed the puck into the net.

Canada killed the penalties and pushed back. They had a half a dozen chances, but Kerttu Kuja-Halkola turned all Canadian shots away. And the ones she missed, got taken care of by the posts and crossbar. 

"It can be frustrating watching pucks go off posts and the crossbar, but we stayed focused and got it done," Amos said. 

And then Canada ran into penalty trouble again, getting two penalties back-to-back to end the period. 

Thanks to the powerplay opportunities, Finland won the shots 12-6 in the second period, but the score was tied going into the third period. 

The third period was just eight second old when Vanhanen passed the puck to Salonen after a broken play on the blue line and the Finn fired a quick wrister that surprised Hannah Clark and gave Finland a 2-1 lead. 

The next Canadian team to quit will be the first one, and this team wasn't it. Alex Law broke into the Finnish zone and beat Kuja-Halkola with a snapshot that hit the post and went in at 12.38.  

"Their plan was to slow us down and we struggled all game with trying to figure out how to break that. Finally in the last ten minutes, we really picked it up and started to play our game," Team Canada's coach Courtney Kessel said. 

With three minutes remaining, Canada found themselves penalty trouble again.  First Abby Lunney was sent to the penalty box for tripping, and just as she got out, Mackenzie Alexander took a slashing minor. Even though Canada killed off the first one, Alexander's penalty gave Finland a 4-on-3 powerplay to start the overtime.

Canada killed that one but then got a bench minor for too many players on the ice, but the Finns still couldn't capitalize. 

In the final, Canada will meet Sweden. 

"We're going to re-fuel and get ready to go," Amos said. 
Canada vs Finland (SF) - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship