Day 2 of Four Nations Cup action completed on Wednesday with Sweden vs. Finland and USA vs. Canada. The final two prelims take place today (Friday, November 9).
Sweden vs. Finland
These teams looked more evenly matched than they have in some time, and Team Sweden managed to give Finland quite a scare, but a strong performance in goal by Jenna Silvonen and a stalwart penalty kill kept the Finnish team on top for a final score of 3-2.
Scoring opened six minutes in when Venla Hovi picked up a deflected puck in the slot that came off of a Swedish defender. Riikka Välilä added to the lead late in the first with a shot that seemed low and harmless from the right circle, but it beat Maria Omberg who was partially screened.
Emma Nuutinen added yet another first period goal on a late power play with Mina Waxin off for hooking. She found herself free in the slot and fell to her knees while wristing a quick shot over Omberg's left shoulder.
Sweden mounted more pressure in the scoreless second period, but was unable to break through despite a 12-5 shot advantage. In the third, they found themselves killing two penalties, and it seemed like the clock would just run out on them.
Lisa Johansson broke through with less than 3 minutes remaining, gaining the zone cleanly and shooting from the top of the circle to beat Jenna Silvonen. 15 seconds later, after some broken play in the slot, Hanna Olsson picked up the puck and caught Silvonen moving to put one past her, narrowing Finland's lead to 3-2.
Finland thought they had an empty net goal when Omberg was pulled for an extra attacker, but they actually had too many players on the ice, earning them a bench minor and putting Sweden on the power play, but they were ultimately unable to tie the game. Still, the Swedish team gave Finland a run for their money–and they have a lot to build on.
USA vs. Canada
It took Team Canada some time to settle into this game, while the Americans were out, guns blazing. At 1:18 of the first, a line of Hannah Brandt, Hilary Knight, and Dani Cameranesi was immediately effective, crowding around Shannon Szabados and creating rebound chances that she was unable to cover. One of those rebounds popped to Brandt, who beat Szabados from close range to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
They didn't hang back, outshooting Canada 16-4 in the first period, though they were unable to convert on power play chances stemming from a bench minor for too many players and a tripping call on Sarah Nurse.
The second period was much more evenly matched and featured a lot of back and forth, but no goals, and mostly even-strength play until the tail end of the period when Emily Pfalzer went to the box. Szabados and Alex Rigsby were both solid, with the Canadians holding a 10-9 shot advantage in the period.
At 3:30 in the third, with everyone seemingly standing still after a scrambled play in Rigsby's crease, Loren Gabel came in out of nowhere to pick up a loose puck in the slot and rocket it past an unsuspecting Rigsby.
At 10:57, veteran defender Kacey Bellamy committed an ugly illegal check from behind on Sarah Fillier for which she received a 2-minute minor and a 10-minute game misconduct. Canada was held largely to the outside on the resulting power play and did not capitalize; later in the period, they had to kill a body checking penalty to Halli Krzyzaniak. Things were getting somewhat physical and heated, and 9 times out of 10, that would mean a hard-won power play goal that would settle things, or overtime.
Instead, the Canadians found themselves in their own kind of déjà vu, having a sudden defensive lapse that lets up a late goal. This time it was the game-winner, though. Sidney Brodt created the zone entry that led to a blocked shot and a chance for the Canadians to clear, but instead, the puck was given up to Kendall Coyne Schofield, who got it to Brianna Decker. Decker put it on net and Brodt swept in and deflected in the rebound to put Team USA up 2-1, which would hold as the final score.
Up next today
- Sweden vs. USA - 3:00 PM Central / 4:00 PM Eastern
- Finland vs. Canada - 7:30 PM central / 8:30 PM Eastern (live on TSN1)