Bratislava, Slovakia – Jenna Buglioni (Port Moody, B.C./Greater Vancouver, BCFM AAA) had a goal and an assist, Ashley Messier (Wilcox, Sask./Selects Hockey Academy, USHS) added two helpers of her own and Canada is off to the gold medal game after topping Finland 4-1 in the semifinals on Wednesday at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
Canada got all the scoring it would need with a trio of goals in the first period. Marianne Picard (Repentigny, Que./Stanstead College, NAPHA) got it started with the opening goal of the game. Walking through two Finnish defenders before tucking it in short side for the 1-0 lead.
Buglioni doubled the lead for Canada a minute later. Off a scramble in front of the net, Buglioni pounced on the loose puck and poked it past Finnish netminder Kiia Lahtinen.
Lindsay Bochna (Toronto, Ont./Etobicoke, PWHL) rounded out the scoring for Canada, scoring with 32 seconds left in the opening frame. Off a faceoff win by Buglioni, Bochna corralled the puck, walked in and snapped the puck in top shelf from in tight.
Finland had several chances to break through in the second, but Ève Gascon (Terrebonne, Que./ Collège Esther-Blondin/LHMAAAQ) was up to the challenge and turned away all seven shots she faced in the period, including a sprawling save midway through the frame with Finland on the power play. It was another strong showing for Gascon, who turned away 14 of 15 shots she faced for a .933 save percentage in the contest.
Finland got on the board early in the third with a goal from Nelli Laitinen. With Finland on the powerplay, Laitinen fired a shot from the point that found its way into the back of the net through a maze of bodies in front.
Kendall Cooper (Burlington, Ont./Stony Creek, PWHL) restored Canada’s three-goal lead under five minutes later, going end-to-end and firing home an absolute laser beam from the right faceoff circle.
Canada will go for gold for the second straight year on Thursday (2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT) when it takes on the winner of the semifinal matchup between the United States and Russia.
“I’ve been getting a lot of chances through the last couple games, so it felt amazing to finally bury one. To me, any time my team scores is amazing, but to get my first international goal is super special with my dad in the stands watching. It was a big game; we needed to come out strong and get the win to get to that final game, so it was a big deal to be able to help achieve [our goal].”
- Buglioni on scoring the game-winning goal
“I was not expecting to have this kind of success personally, I was just looking to have fun and help support the team. I’m usually a very defensive player, so being able to help the group with offence is something a bit new, but definitely something I want to keep going. Because it’s a semifinal it makes a difference, and being able to help the group is such a special feeling to me.”
- Picard on having success
“I definitely want to use my experience from last year and help the new girls out, but it’s a different team and I’m not focused on last year. I’m focused on this team, getting the job done and trusting every single one of them, and I know we’re going to put our best foot forward.”
- Cooper on leading the team into the gold medal game
“This is probably one of the tightest-knit short-competition teams I’ve ever been involved with. They seem to really be in each other’s court, they’re very supportive, and they genuinely like each other and want to be around each other. Obviously, they’ve done an outstanding job and a big part of that is our leadership group. I think our captains have contributed in a huge way to our success.”
- Head coach Howie Draper (Edmonton, Alta./University of Alberta, CW) on coaching in his second-straight gold medal game