Finland 3, Sweden 1
It wasn't what Finland were hoping for out of this tournament, but after a disappointing quarterfinal loss, it was the best they could do and they were determined to make sure they achieved this reprioritized goal. They showed that they're are a Group A team who should have been in the medal round with a decisive win over Sweden Sunday morning. They outshot the Swedes 42-19, with a good portion of Sweden's shots coming in the final minutes after they pulled Emma Söderberg and were on the power play. Söderberg continued to prove she is one of the best goalies in the world.
Sweden scored just 48 seconds into the game Sanni Ahola stopped Anna Kjellbin's shot initially, but then let it trick in as she started to get up. Jenni Hiirikoski's power play shot from the blue line tied the game. Kiira Yrjanen doubled the lead in the second and Noora Tulus secured the win in the third.
What we learned
- Finland fight – Despite Sweden's quick goal, it was clear that Finland came to win. They had three goals in the tournament – win the group, win their quarterfinal and end in Group A. Two out of three ain't bad, as they say.
- Not there yet – Sweden has shown absolutely massive improvement, but there are still places they can improve to put themselves in the top tier conversation on a regular basis. It's so amazing to see their federation investment start to pay off and we can only hope just missing out here pushes things further.
- Finland F Noora Tulus – The assistant captain was 16 for 22 on faceoffs, led her team with seven shots, scored the late power play goal in the third to shut down any possibility of a Sweden comeback and led her team in time on ice. She was a factor on offense and defense and was often the one starting the transition.
- Sweden D Nathalie Lidman – The 22-year old did not make Sweden's roster out of pre-camp here in Canada and flew back to Sweden. But when Paula Bergström broke her ankle against Hungary last Saturday, the team recalled Lidman to join the roster and she made the most of the opportunity in this placement game. Finland tried to use their speed up the boards before cutting in towards net and Lidman was shoulder to shoulder with them, keeping the puck to the outside and the players from angling in to the net. She also blocked a number of shots in front of Söderberg. It was a gritty, confident performance and one that should earn her more plaiyng time with the national team.
"We wanted to come back. We made it. We are really happy for that. But that's not enough." – Finland coach Juuso Toivola
"They were so ready. Sometimes you can feel it. Sweden got a great start and that was bad for us, but those players are so great. They just decided that's our game and they made it. I'm happy for them." – Toivola
"We have to keep on working and keep up the good skating and those little things in game. I think the players learned we can beat everybody if we're in the right mood and ready for the game." – Toivola
"That was the last goal we could reach, so we're really happy about it that we took the win today." - Finland D Jenni Hiirikoski
"We couldn't find a win that quarterfinal. We have had a really great tournament We have had a lot of fun. I'm really proud of the team and the younger girls who have stepped into bigger roles in this tournament. I feel that the future is much more bright now. Finland is aiming for back to the medals." – Hiirikoski
"I'm proud. I think we had a bad start, but we worked up as a group and had a really good game in the quarterfinal against Canada. I'm proud, but we are hungry for more." – Sweden coach Ulf Lundberg
"We're moving forward all the time. Of course, you want to move even faster, but we can see the development really clearly. We're going to work hard and continue working." – Lundberg
"She played simple. She's strong and has a good consistency. Her journey from being in the pre-camp, traveling home and then coming back when we got the injury, it's a really good performance." – Lundberg on Lidman
"We had not a great start but we showed from there that we were taking steps in the right direction for the rest of the tournament. We weren't happy with how we played and we made sure that we were going to battle through it. We especially showed that against Canada." – Sweden G Emma Söderberg
"We're taking steps in the right direction. Obviously we wanted more today." – Söderberg
(Photo: Nicole Haase)