Canada scored three goals in the final six minutes of the first period en route to a 8-0 win and first place in Group A. Canada finishes with a 2-1-0-0 record while the Finns are 1-0-1-2.
Canada and the U.S. qualify for the semi-finals on Monday while Finland plays Germany in one quarter-finals and the Swiss and Russians play the other tomorrow.
The Canadians were still without their captain, Hayley Wickenheiser, who missed her second game with a UBI (upper-body injury), but her absence was barely felt from a potent offence led by Meghan Agosta-Marciano’s hat trick.
The game was played before a raucous and young crowd of 18,013, a record for a women’s hockey game, and included more than 375 girls’ teams who are in town for provincial championships at many levels.
“I thought we played really well today,” said goalie Shannon Szabados, who stopped 16 shots for the shutout. “We gave them a few power-play opportunities, but the girls battled hard and blocked a lot of shots, which made my night a little easier.”
Bailey Bram opened the scoring at 14:25 with her first career goal, a quick shot in the slot made possible by a sensational backhand pass from Caroline Ouellette, back in the lineup after missing a game with injury.
Brianne Jenner upped the score a minute and a half later when she made a beautiful deflection off a Courtney Birchard point shot. Jenner scored again two minutes later on a tremendous individual effort. First, she barrelled down the right wing and drew a penalty as she fell into the end boards. She got up and swatted a loose puck past goalie Noora Räty from a bad angle, making it 3-0 and putting Canada in control.
The Finns skated stride for stride with Canada in the second period, and both teams had great chances with the extra man. Canada had an early power play that went for naught and later in the period the Finns had a five-on-three for 1:53 but came up empty.
The only goal of the period came with exactly one minute remaining. Haley Irwin put a perfect pass on Megan Agosta-Marciano’s stick in the slot, and her quick shot squirted between the pads of Räty to make it 4-0. It was her first of the tournament.
“To get that first goal feels great,” she admitted. “It’s never easy, but as a line we worked really hard tonight. We’re really pleased with how it went. Once I got the first one, I felt I had a little momentum. Everybody is anxious to get their frist goal of any tournament. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who puts pucks in the net, it’s just a matter of which team comes out on top.”
Two quick goals early in the third spelled the end for Räty. Agosta-Marciano got her second and Sarah Vaillancourt made it 6-0, so coach Mika Pieniniemi inserted Meeri Räisänen, who gave up a goal to Jennifer Wakefield on her first shot.
Agosta-Marciano then completed her hat trick to finish the scoring.
IHLC: With the win, Canada sweeps the group round of the 2013 Women’s World Championship, where it won its 28th International Hockey Lineal Championship from the U.S. in the opener on April 2. Canada and Finland last met with the IHLC on the line at the opening of the Four Nations Cup in November, with Canada retaining in a 6-0 victory. Canada, who gets a bye directly to the Semifinals, will now face the winner of the Russia-Switzerland Quarterfinal with a trip to the Gold Medal Game, and the IHLC, in play.
08:11 – PEN – Larocque, interference
08:38 – PEN – Lindstedt, tripping
08:57 – PEN – Jalosuo, slashing
14:25 – GOAL – Bram (Ouellette, Ward)
16:03 – GOAL – Jenner (Birchard, Poulin)
18:06 – EA GOAL – Jenner (Hefford, Poulin)
24:24 – PEN – Rajahuhta, tripping
27:01 – PEN – Rougeau, tripping
27:08 – PEN – Ward, high sticking
32:48 – PEN – Birchard, interference
39:00 – GOAL – Agosta (Irwin, Vaillancourt)
41:38 – GOAL – Agosta (Irwin, Ward)
42:26 – PEN – Tuomanen, hooking
44:26 – GOAL – Vaillancourt (Agosta, Bonhomme)
45:47 – GOAL – Wakefield (Johnston)
46:52 – GOAL – Agosta (Vaillancourt, Birchard)
53:49 – PEN – Jenner, hooking
54:25 – PEN – Rougeau, tripping
58:29 – PEN – Mikkelson, body checking
W: Szabados (16-16)
L: Räty (31-37), Räisänen (4-6)
SHOTS ON GOAL
21+12+10 = 43
5+7+4 = 16
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Courtney Birchard, Tessa Bonhomme, Laura Fortino, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau, Catherine Ward. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Bailey Bram, Jayna Hefford (A), Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Caroline Ouellette (A), Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Sarah Vaillancourt, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Meeri Räisänen, Noora Räty. Defence: Jenni Hiirikoski (C), Mira Jalosuo, Anna Kilponen, Emma Laaksonen (A), Rosa Lindstedt, Vilma Tarvainen, Saija Tarkki (A), Tea Villilä. Forwards: Venta Hovi, Michelle Karvinen, Niina Mäkinen, Annina Rajahuhta, Karoliina Rantamäki, Tiina Saarimäki, Susanna Tapani, Nina Tikkinen, Anne Tuomanen, Minnamari Tuominen, Linda Välimäki, Marjo Voutilainen.