Sweden, an unlikely holder of the International Hockey Lineal Championship at the Twelve Nations tournament, retained their title against an even unlikelier opponent in Finland, winning 3-1 in one of the rare women’s IHLC games in history not to feature Canada or the United States.
Perhaps still fatigued from her 49-save performance against Canada two days earlier, Kim Martin conceded an early goal to the Naisleijonat, giving up a Tea Villilä just over two minutes into the first period. However, despite being outshot 18-12 in the opening frame, the Damkronorna held their ground early on. Sweden tied things up midway through the second on an Elin Holmlöv solo effort, and quickly doubled up the lead seven minutes later on an Erika Holst power play tally to take a 2-1 lead into the second.
Despite cleaning up their act penalty-wise in the third, after a second period with three Finnish minors and just four shots on goal, Finland was unable to solve Martin. Capitalizing on their frustration, Lina Wester put the final nail in the coffin for Sweden with five minutes left in regulation, beating Finnish keeper Noora Räty for the 3-1 goal, which would hold up as the final score. Martin finished the night with 31 saves, Räty with 25.
With the win, Sweden retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship they snatched from Canada two days ago in a shocking 6-4 victory, their third IHLC reign. Despite the cross-border rivalry between Sweden and Finland, this just their second ever meeting in women’s hockey over the IHLC, the first coming in a 3-2 Sweden win at the 2008 Four Nations Cup. This also marks just the third IHLC game in history not to feature Canada or the United States, the first being the aforementioned 2008 game, and the second being a 6-1 Swedish victory over China at the 2009 World Championships. These teams will meet again tomorrow to close out the tournament, with the IHLC up for grabs in just their third ever IHLC showdown.
02:15 – GOAL – Villilä (Rajahuhta, Niskanen)
17:09 – PEN – Lindstedt, slashing
25:06 – PEN – Löwenhielm, high sticking
29:55 – GOAL – Holmlöv
36:38 – PEN – Villilä, body checking
36:47 – PP GOAL – Holst (Löwenhielm, Holmlöv)
37:47 – PEN – Lindstedt, tripping
39:50 – PEN – Rajahuhta, hooking
55:15 – GOAL – Wester (Stenberg, Nevalainen)
W: Martin (31-32)
L: Räty (25-28)
SHOTS ON GOAL
12+8+8 = 28
18+4+10 = 32
Goaltenders: Valentina Lizana, Kim Martin. Defence: Emma Agen, Emilia Andersson, Jenni Asserholt, Linnea Bäckman, Johanna Fällman, Linnea Hedin, Josefine Holmgren, Frida Nevalainen, Johanna Olofsson, Kristina Vikdahl. Forwards: Gizela Blom, Anna Borgqvist, Emma Eliasson, Elin Holmlöv, Erika Holst, Lisa Johansson, Michelle Löwenhielm, Klara Myrén, Melinda Olsson, Rebecca Stenberg, Lina Wester, Pernilla Winberg, Angelica Östlund.
Goaltenders: Susanna Airaksinen, Meeri Räisänen, Noora Räty, Anna Vanhatalo. Defence: Essi Hallvar, Jenni Hiirikoski, Mira Jalosuo, Anna Kilponen, Rosa Lindstedt, Karoliina Mäenpänen, Terhi Mertanen, Mariia Posa, Isa Rahunen, Tea Villilä. Forwards: Venla Hovi, Johanna Juutilainen, Sari Karna, Michelle Karvinen, Pia Lund, Niina Mäkinen, Tanja Niskanen, Annina Rajahuhta, Karoliina Rantamäki, Saila Saari, Tiina Saarimaki, Susanna Tapani, Nina Tikkinen, Anne Tuomanen, Minnamari Tuominen.