International Ice Hockey Federation

Finns gain playoff berth

Finns gain playoff berth

3-1 win over Sweden sends both teams to quarters

Published 11.01.2016 15:24 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Finns gain playoff berth
ST. CATHARINES, CANADA - JANUARY 11: Finland's Aino Karppinen #5 challenges Sweden's Kajsa Armborg #13 during preliminary round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Finland secured a spot in the quarter-finals with a timely win over Sweden when it mattered most. Petra Nieminen had two goals for the winners.

The win assures both teams will advance to the quarter-finals, regardless of what happens in the Switzerland-France game currently being played at Seymour-Hannah arena.

"I told them to relax and have the confidence that we have the skills to win," Finnish coach Jari Risku enthused after. "We didn’t play like that against Switzerland, but today we did. Trust yourself. Trust your teammates. Let the passion out. That’s it."

The game was played before some 2,635 boisterous fans, many of them schoolchildren who supported the two teams evenly. It was played at a brisk pace, completed in just one hour and 54 minutes.

"We have to play consistently well for 60 minutes," suggested Swedish forward Mariam El Mahmadi. "The game isn’t 20 or 40 minutes. Finland did that from the start. We caught up with them in the third, but Finland played a complete game."

From the opening faceoff, this was a game that had all the feeling of a playoff matchup, complete with nervous play and a lack of scoring touch, fear of making that critical error, and the occasional great rush and big save.

Sweden thought it had the first goal late in the period when Kajsa Armborg put the puck in the net on a wraparound, but the play was waved off. Moments later, Petra Nieminen scored for Finland. She drove down the right wing and then cut in sharply on goal, sliding the puck to the far side past Emma Soderberg at 18:45

The Finns might well have upped their lead in the second, but some squandered chances allowed Sweden to get back into it. Jessica Adolfsson tied the game at 7:44 just as Eve Savander came out of the penalty box. Indeed, Adolfsson got the puck at the point, and as she wound up to shoot Savander skated hard from the penalty box to the Swede, but she didn’t get there in time. Adolfsson’s blast beat Tiia Pajarinen cleanly.

Much of the period was played with long sequences without a whistle, but at 17:47 the Finns regained the lead when Aino Karppinen’s point shot bounced off a Swedish defender and over Soderberg’s glove.

Sweden's attempt to tie the game in the third was hampered by three quik penalties in the first six minutes, but Finland wasn't able to extend its lead, either.

Then, at 12:06, the Finns got some breathing room. Nieminen evaded two defenders in the slot and snapped a nice backhand past Soderberg's blocker to make it 3-1. And with the goal, assurances of a playoff spot and a chance for a medal, something that wasn't so clear when the players woke up this morning.


Back to Overview