Finns suffocated by the USA | Women’s Hockey – Ice Hockey

After losing to a confident team from Canada (1-4), the preliminary round of the Women’s World Cup continues for Finland with a duel against the other world superpower, the United States. The meeting promises to be perilous for the Lionesses since the workforce of the Naisleijonat is turned upside down. Petra Nieminen, expelled against Canada for a dangerous charge on Kristin O’Neill, received an additional sanction from the Disciplinary Board, she must serve a one-match suspension. But coach Juuso Toivola cannot do without one, but two key players since the number 1 center Susanna Tapani is in the stands for this match. Toivola resolved to upset his lines, the great defender Ronja Savolainen notably joining the fourth offensive line.

Suffice to say that Finland did not join the ice in the best possible mood for their second match, against an American armada which atomized Japan 10-0 at the opening of the tournament. Nicole Hensley was also behind this shutout for the Japanese, nine different scorers, debutant Taylor Heise brilliant on her side with 5 assists, the University of Minnesota striker was also logically elected best player of the match. Hensley, however, gives way to Maddie Rooney for this match against the Lionesses. The USA are on 11 consecutive victories at the Worlds against Finland, will the Nordics have a say in the absence of two key players?

Over the matches and tournaments, Anni Keisala has proven to be Finland’s undisputed number 1, she knows what awaits her. But at the start of the match, she comes close to a blunder by placing herself behind the goal before the puck reaches her, it is deflected and lands in the palette of Coyne-Schofield, open field, who misses a golden opportunity. First warning, the Americans will apply strong pressure from the start of the match. Keller, Heise, Carpenter and Kessel are the most prominent as the USA gets its first power play. But it was with equal strength that the Americans opened the scoring: Amanda Kessel was pressing, Hannah Brandt recovered behind the goal and put Jincy Dunne on the blue line, who adjusted Keisala perfectly (1-0, 06’13).

The United States are clearly sharp and do not let Finland breathe, leading the register of shots 17-1… after nine minutes of play. We are then surprised to see a Finnish goal in this first period signed Liikala, but that -this will be disallowed for a foul by Vanhanen on Harvey. No goal and a new numerical superiority from the USA, a new storm with a shower of chances from Bilka, Heise and Knight.

Perfectly blocking Finnish raises with high pressing, the Americans continued their efforts in the second half. And Taylor Heise is still very prominent, both serving and executing, she also hits the post. And in the 27th minute, it’s a splendid sequence initiated by Kelly Pannek who transmits to Hannah Brandt, the latter eliminates Rantala and opens the way to the goal, the puck is narrowly repelled by Keisala. The USA will finally double the bet in numerical superiority: Cayla Barnes strikes from the blue line, Abby Roque, who was screen, deflects halfway up (2-0, 28’53). The score remains however flattering with regard to the face of the meeting: at the halfway point, John Wroblewski’s players lead 40-2 in throws…

The Lionesses are suffocated, but are doing very well. Rantala prevents in extremis Carpenter, who had beaten everyone, to place a shot. Lacey Eden appears to score a third goal, but this is disallowed for a Coyne-Schofield high stick detected in front of goal. For the third mine, it’s only a matter of time. Laitinen sanctioned for a fault on Compher, Bilka, Knight, Heise and Harvey make the powder speak in powerplay. It was finally Amanda Kessel, totally unmarked on the left by a clever pass into Hilary Knight’s slot, who scored the third goal (3-0, 37’11).

Overwhelming domination of the USA by Amanda Kessel (IIHF photos)

Close to the correctional (with a score that could have been much more severe), Finland reacts at the start of the third period. After just 46 seconds, following an interception by Julia Liikala behind the goal, Ella Viitasuo reduced the score with a shot from the blue line (3-1, 40’46). A short-lived brand. Two minutes later, on the right side, Taylor Heise made a pass in the back near the goal, behind was Amanda Kessel who shot from close range (4-1, 42’39).

Despite everything, led 1-4, the Finns now play without complex and align (finally) structured sequences. Young striker Elisa Holopainen is at the center of this revolt with some good chances to her credit. Feeling that his team is more at ease, coach Toivola then decides to release Keisala three minutes from the end. A short-lived power play, the time Hannah Bilka scored in the empty cage with her second goal of the tournament (5-1, 57’43). Final score? Nope ! Hannah Brandt increased the score, taking advantage of a rebound after a recovery from Hilary Knight (6-1, 58’24).

6-1, a score finally more in line with the overwhelming domination of the United States which gleaned a second success in this World Cup. With this victory, the Americans open the door to the traditional group final against Canada. As for the Finns of Toivola, still a lot of work in perspective to hope for a sensation in the elimination match. Because the absence of the two leading players Nieminen and Tapani could not alone explain such a shipwreck.

Players of the match: Amanda Kessel for the United States, Anni Keisala for Finland.

USA – Finland 6-1 (1-0, 2-0, 3-1)
Saturday August 27, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. at the Kvik Hockey Arena in Herning. 526 spectators.
Refereeing by Nikoleta Celárová (SVQ) and Julia Kainberger (AUT) assisted by Magdalena Jonáková (SVQ) and Justine Todd (CAN).
Penalties: USA 6′ (2′, 0′, 4′), Finland 10′ (4′, 6′, 0′).
Shots: USA 72 (28, 26, 18), Finland 16 (2, 5, 9).

Score evolution:
1-0 at 06’13: Dunne assisted by Brandt and Kessel
2-0 at 28’53: Castling assisted by Barnes and Coyne-Schofield (num. sup.)
3-0 at 37’11: Kessel assisted by Roque and Coyne-Schofield (num. sup.)
3-1 at 40’46: Viitasuo assisted by Liikala
4-1 at 42’39: Kessel assisted by Heise and Carpenter
5-1 at 57’43: Bilka
6-1 at 58’24: Brandt assisted by Knight and Bilka

United States

Forwards:
Hannah Bilka (+3) – Hannah Brandt (+3) – Hilary Knight (A, +1)
Alex Carpenter (+1) – Taylor Heise (+1, 2′) – Amanda Kessel (+3)
Kendall Coyne-Schofiel (C, -1) – Kelly Pannek (-1, 2′) – Lacey Eden (-1)
Hayley Scamurra – Jesse Compher – Grace Zumwinkle
Abby Roque

Defenders:
Lee Stecklein (A) – Caroline Harvey (-1, 2′)
Megan Keller (+1) – Savannah Harmon (+1)
Cayla Barnes (+2) – Jincy Dunne (+2)
Rory Guilday (+1)

Guardian:
maddie rooney

Substitute: Nicole Hensley (L). In reserve: Aerin Frankin (G).

Finland (2′ for excess)

Forwards:
Viivi Vainikka (-2) – Noora Tulus (-1) – Elisa Holopainen (-2)
Michelle Karvinen (A, +1) – Sanni Vanhanen (4′) – Julia Liikala (+1)
Kiira Yrjanen – Jenniina Nylund (-3) – Emilia Vesa
Sofianna Sundelin (-2) – Emmi Rakkolainen (-1) – Ronja Savolainen (-1)

Defenders:
Jenni Hiirikoski (C, +1) – Ella Viitasuo (+1)
Nelli Laitinen (A, -3, 2′) – Sanni Rantala (-2)
Sini Karjalainen (-1) – Krista Parkkonen (-2, 2′)

Guardian:
Anni Keisala [sorti de 57’00 à 57’43 »]

Substitute: Meeri Räisänen (G). In reserve: Jenna Silvonen (G), Susanna Tapani (A), Petra Nieminen (A, suspended).

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