Canada opened their Four Nations Cup on a positive note, scoring early and often enough against a determined Finnish squad to win 3-1, successfully retaining the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Canada established its dominance in the early going, outshooting Finland 20-4 in the first period, and forcing the Finns to take four penalties in the opening frame alone. They capitalized on the power play, with Rebecca Johnston blasting a shot past Noora Räty to open the scoring just under thirteen minutes in, and then pouring it on with a Natalie Spooner tally just over ninety seconds later.
While the Finns managed to outshoot Canada in the second period, and more importantly keep them off the scoreboard, the acheivement was short-lived, as Vicki Bendus made it 3-0 early in the third on a feed from Brigitte Lacquette. While Tea Villilä did manage to net a power play tally past Charline Labonté thanks to a Haley Irwin high sticking call, it was too little too late, as the Naisleijonat failed to capitalize on a late Canada penalty to close the deficit further. While Räty stopped an impressive 36 of 39 shots, it was not enough to salvage the win for Finland.
With the win, Canada opens their Four Nations Cup title defence of the International Hockey Lineal Championship on a positive note, winning their third straight since winning the title from the United States in an October exhibition game. Canada last faced Finland with the IHLC on the line at the World Championships in April, with Canada drubbing the Naisleijonat 8-0 to win. Canada, in their 29th reign as IHLC champions, will face the U.S. next with the IHLC on the line, in a likely preview of the Gold Medal Game, both here in Lake Placid, and in Sochi during the Olympics in February.
01:49 – PEN – Tuominen, slashing
06:03 – PEN – Karvinen, roughing
06:03 – PEN – Lacquette, roughing
11:10 – PEN – Nieminen, tripping
12:52 – PP GOAL – Johnston (Irwin, Jenner)
14:26 – GOAL – Spooner (Agosta, Ward)
17:36 – PEN – Bram, interference
18:27 – PEN – Karvinen, roughing
30:32 – PEN – Johnston, hooking
35:17 – PEN – Laaksonen, holding
37:13 – PEN – Apps, slashing
44:54 – GOAL – Bendus (Lacquette, Apps)
49:16 – PEN – Spooner, body checking
52:29 – PEN – Irwin, high sticking
53:43 – PP GOAL – Villilä (Tikkinen, Räty)
54:13 – PEN – Ward, holding
W: Labonté (22-23)
L: Räty (36-39)
SHOTS ON GOAL
20+7+12 = 39
4+8+11 = 23
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Geneviève Lacasse, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Courtney Birchard, Tessa Bonhomme, Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque, Catherine Ward (A), Tara Watchorn. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Vicki Bendus, Bailey Bram, Mélodie Daoust, Jayna Hefford (C), Haley Irwin (A), Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Jenelle Kohanchuk, Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Meeri Räisänen, Noora Räty, Eveliina Suonpää. Defence: Jenni Hiirikoski (C), Mira Jalosuo, Anna Kilponen, Emma Laaksonen (A), Rosa Lindstedt, Isa Rahunen, Saija Tarkki (A), Tea Villilä. Forwards: Venla Hovi, Michelle Karvinen, Riikka Nieminen, Tanja Niskanen, Emma Nuutinen, Karolina Rantamäki, Saila Saari, Vilma Tanskanen, Susanna Tapani, Nina Tikkinen, Minnamari Tuominen, Linda Välimäki.