If it weren’t for Meeri Räisänen, Canada might have ran up the score against Finland in the Four Nations Cup round-robin finale at Interior Savings Centre on Friday, Nov. 7.
The Finnish goaltender was outstanding in a 3-1 loss to Canada, which will square off with the U.S. in the gold-medal game on Saturday.
Sweden and Finland will play for bronze on Saturday.
Canada outshout Finland 49-12, but the game wasn’t in the bag until Rebecca Johnston iced it with an empty-net goal late in the third period.
Riikka Välilä (née Nieminen) scored on the power-play to bring the Finns within one with 9:24 left to play in the final frame, pouncing on a loose puck and firing it past Canadian netminder Emerance Maschmeyer.
Haley Irwin deflected in a point shot taken by Laura Fortino to give Canada a 2-0 lead early in the third.
Jennifer Wakefield opened the scoring in the first period, making no mistake after accepting a deft backhand feed from Tara Watchorn.
Maschmeyer made 11 saves and posted her second victory of the tournament. She was between the pipes when Canada blanked Sweden 2-0 on Tuesday.
Geneviève Lacasse is likely to get the start in net for Canada in the gold-medal game. She backstopped the Canadians in their 3-2 victory over the U.S. on Wednesday.
Räisänen made 46 saves in a losing effort on Friday, but was not named Finland’s player of the game. That honour went to Välilä.
Courtney Birchard was named Canada’s player of the game.
IHLC: With the victory, Canada, in their 30th reign as International Hockey Lineal Champions, retains the IHLC they captured from Team USA at the Sochi Olympics, and defended against both Sweden and the United States at the Four Nations Cup. Canada, who improves to 25-0 against Finland at the Four Nations Cup, wins their first IHLC battle against the Naisleijonat since last year’s Cup, retaining in a 6-3 win to capture the Gold Medal. Canada now advances to their 19th consecutive Gold Medal Game at the Four Nations Cup, taking on their American counterparts for the 17th time to unify Gold and the IHLC.
03:01 – PEN – ViIlilä, hooking
14:34 – PEN – Tapani, body checking
15:42 – PP GOAL – Wakefield (Watchorn, Jenner)
23:55 – PEN – Krzyzaniak, holding
41:18 – PEN – Nieminen, hooking
43:53 – GOAL – Irwin (Fortino, Turnbull)
46:12 – PEN – Johnston, tripping
46:23 – PEN – Hiirikoski, boarding
50:14 – PEN – Irwin, tripping
50:36 – PP GOAL – Nieminen (Lindstedt, Tulus)
59:12 – EN GOAL – Johnston (Ambrose)
W: Maschmeyer (11-12)
L: Räisänen (46-48)
SHOTS ON GOAL
18+16+15 = 49
7+2+3 = 12
Goaltenders: Geneviève Lacasse, Emerance Maschmeyer. Defence: Erin Ambrose, Courtney Birchard, Laura Fortino, Halli Krzyzaniak, Jocelyne Larocque, Tara Watchorn. Forwards: Bailey Bram, Jessica Campbell, Emily Clark, Haley Irwin (C), Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston (A), Jenelle Kohanchuk, Jillian Saulnier, Natalie Spooner (A), Kelly Terry, Blayre Turnbull, Jennifer Wakefield.
Goaltenders: Meeri Räisänen, Eveliina Suonpää. Defence: Jenni Hiirikoski, Mira Jalosuo, Anna Kilponen, Rosa Lindstedt, Minnamari Tuominen, Ella Viitasuo, Tea Villilä. Forwards: Jennica Haikarainen, Sari Kärnä, Michelle Karvinen (C), Riikka Nieminen (A), Emma Nuutinen, Suvi Ollikainen, Karoliina Rantamäki, Saila Saari, Jenna Suokko, Vilma Tanskanen, Susanna Tapani (A), Noora Tulus, Saana Valkama.