Finland cruises past Sweden 7-2, advance to semi-finals
Their Olympic debut did not go as planned. Starting off with losses to the U.S and Canada, Finland had to make a change if they wanted to keep their medal hopes alive.
Well, something did change and their hopes for a medal are still very much alive.
In a group effort, and an offensive one at that, Finland thorougly dominated Sweden 7-2 in the women's quarterfinals at Gangneug Hockey Centre in PyeongChang.
With the win, Noora Raty surpassed Swiss goaltender Florence Shelling for most wins in the tournament. Raty has tied the Olympic record for wins in the tournament, with nine.
Finland and the United States will have a rematch. The two teams will face off in the semifinals.
Petra Nieminen, the youngest member of Finland at a ripe 19 years old, got the offensive outburst started.
A relentless forecheck combined with constant battle in front of the net, Finland dominated from the get go.
At 13:45 of the first frame, Nieminen tapped in a sweet feed from Venla Hovi to open the scoring for the Fins.
Just a few minutes later, Isa Rahunen's wrister from the point, ricochet's off Rikki Valila's facemask to beat Sweden goaltender Sara Grahn and extend the score to 2-0.
With less than three minutes left in the first period Finland went on the powerplay, due to a tripping penalty on Sweden's Maria Lindh.
Sussana Tapani was in perfect position and went five hole on Grahn to further extend the Fins lead to 3-0 going into intermission.
Sweden now found themselves in a position they did not want to be in, down 0-3 in a do or die game.
Sara Berglund started the second period in net for the Swedes, but even a goalie change couldn't shift the tides in their favor.
Finland started the second period the exact way they ended the first.
Michelle Karvinen found twine at 12:46 of the second frame. She blasted a one-timer past Berglund to make it 4-0.
Sweden's Emma Nordin's shot managed to get past Noora Raty and finally put her team on the scoreboard.
The youngest player on Finland scored earlier in the game and so did the oldest. Her facemask may have gotten the assist earlier, but now it was her turn.
44 year old Rikka Valila lit the lamp when she hammered home a pass from Michelle Karvinen.
Rebecca Stenberg scored a beaut on the breakaway for Sweden to close out the second period with some momentum for Sweden.
However, momemtum came far too late, as Finland started the final frame off just how they did the previous two.
Goals from Emma Nuutinen and Sanni Hakala secured the 7-2 victory for Finland.
The women's semi-finals game is set for Feb. 19th with Finland facing off with the United States at 11:10p.m. and Canada taking on OAR at 7:10a.m. ET.
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