PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) tied the game just 36 seconds into the third period, but a late goal left Canada’s National Women’s Team with a 4-3 loss to Finland on Saturday at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
It is the first time Canada has lost to someone other than the United States at women’s worlds, and the first time it has ever lost to the Finns, dropping its all-time record against the Scandinavians to 69-1-1.
Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL) and Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) had the other goals for the Canadians; Poulin and Johnston finished with a goal and an assist each.
The Canadians carried the play early, outshooting Finland 13-7 in the first period, but Sanni Hakala opened the scoring with 1:18 left, redirecting a shot past goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./Calgary, CWHL) after a turnover at the blue-line.
Poulin needed just 27 seconds to tie the game, burying the rebound of an Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) shot to send the game to the intermission even at 1-1.
Petra Nieminen restored the Finnish lead 61 seconds into the second period, going short-side on Maschmeyer on the power play, but again Canada answered quickly. Turnbull took a short pass from Lauriane Rougeau (Beaconsfield, Que./Montreal, CWHL) and wired a quick shot upstairs for the 2-2 goal at 4:21.
The back-and-forth momentum shifts continued in the early minutes of the middle frame; Susanna Tapani got her stick on a point shot at the 6:49 mark, squeezing the tip-in past Maschmeyer to give Finland its third lead.
That would be all for Maschmeyer, who was replaced by Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ont,/Calgary, CWHL) after allowing three goals on 11 shots.
With the Canadians staring down a historic loss, Johnston struck in the first minute of the third period, taking a pass from Poulin before going five-hole on Finnish netminder Noora Räty to make it 3-3.
Both teams had their chances in the final frame – Canada outshot Finland 12-11 – but it was the Finns who got the game-winner with overtime looming; Ronja Savolainen snuck her point shot through traffic and past Lacasse with just 1:41 to go.
The Canadians held a 38-26 advantage in shots on goal, but went goalless in six chances on the power play.
Canada will look to finish the preliminary round with its first win when it meets Russia on Monday afternoon. The puck drops at 3:30 p.m.
“We know Finland is a great team and we knew that they were going to come out hard after their loss. Our team played with heart tonight but unfortunately we came up short.”
– Poulin on Canada’s loss against Finland
“Finland played us really hard, Noora Räty had an outstanding game in goal and they did an excellent job at clogging up the middle of the ice in front of her and we consequently had a tough job trying to find the back of the net. We talked to the team that we have a different path to take now and we have to focus on Russia so that we can come back – it’s just going to be different than what we are used to.”
– Head coach Laura Schuler on the loss and how Canada can refocus