FÜSSEN, Germany – Victoria Bach (Milton, Ont,/Boston University, HE) and Loren Gabel (Kitchener, Ont./Clarkson University, ECAC) scored 25 seconds apart to erase a two-goal deficit, but a last-minute goal left Canada’s National Women’s Development Team with a 3-2 loss to Finland in the first game for both Wednesday at the 2018 Nations Cup.
The game was a rematch of the 2017 gold medal game, won 1-0 by the Finns.
Susanna Tapani had the lone goal of the first period for Finland despite a trio of power plays in the opening frame for the Canadians, including 44 seconds at five-on-three.
Petra Nieminen doubled the advantage for the Scandinavians just 1:12 into the second period, beating Canadian goaltender Marlène Boissonnault (Dundee, N.B./Cornell University, ECAC), before Canada struck quickly to tie the game.
Bach was first at 7:51, assisted by Kaitlin Tse (Toronto, Ont./Harvard University, ECAC) and Amy Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.), and Ève-Audrey Picard (Longueuil, Que./University of Vermont, HE) and Hannah Miller (North Vancouver, B.C./St. Lawrence University, ECAC) set up Gabel only seconds later to make it 2-2.
That was it for offence until the dying seconds of the third period; with overtime looming, Riikka Välilä converted on the Finns’ fifth power-play opportunity at 19:12 to give the defending champions the first points in Group B.
Canada finishes up the preliminary round on Thursday (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT), taking on Russia.
“With our leadership group this year for Nations Cup, we have a lot of experience, a great amount of dedication, and passion. We feel very fortunate to have those players in place to guide and lead our team. We have no doubt that they will take their role seriously in making sure every player feels in the right mindset to perform and learn.”
Team Canada head coach Noémie Marin (Acton Vale, Que./ John Abbott College, CEGEP) on the qualities the team’s leadership group of Leslie, Healy, and Bach bring to their role
“We played hard together, we came close against a team who will soon be competing in the Olympics. Our players showed great things on the ice and we are happy with the way they came out to play, executed our game plan, and handled themselves against a strong Finland Team.”
Marin discusses her thoughts on Canada’s game against Finland
Canada has won gold 11 times at the Nations Cup (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016).