Finnish women's national team poses with their bronze medals and 3rd place trophy.
- 7 min read

2024 IIHF Women's World Championship - Bronze Medal Game

Finland won their first medal at the IIHF Women's Worlds since 2021, ending Czechia's two-year run in 3rd place with a shootout victory.

2024 IIHF Women's World Championship - Bronze Medal Game by Nicole Haase

Finland 3, Czechia 2 (SO)

It's a bit of a shame that the memory of this incredible game might fade in the face of the bonkers gold medal game that followed it.

The bronze medal game took a little time to get rolling, with both teams playing a bit tentative, not wanting to make a mistake. Czechia finished their semifinal game against Canada around 9:30 PM on Saturday and had to be back to play for bronze about 15 hours later. Czechia coach Carla MacLeod feels like it took that first period for her team to find their legs and feel comfortable. 

But things kicked off quickly in the second when Susanna Tapani, Petra Nieminen, and Michelle Karvinen took off on a rush from the draw and showed off some spectacular chemistry and passing. Nieminen's pass through the slot was deflected, but it sent Klára Peslarová, leaving the back door wide open. Tapani was able to regroup and find Karvinen for the goal. 

Czechia replied five minutes later on their first power play of the game. Tereza Vanišová shot from the bottom of the circle on the far side. Sanni Ahola got a piece of it and the puck deflected into her defender, Nelli Laitinen, at the back post where Michaela Pejzlová was able to bat it in to tie the game 1-1. 

Czechia killed a 5-on-3 penalty and looked to have finally have some momentum, but Finland struck again in the final minutes of the second period as Elisa Holopainen took off down the ice. Her crossing pass was deflected by a Czech stick and popped in the air, but Viivi Vainikka stuck with it and batted it out of the air and into the back of the net to give Finland the 2-1 lead. 

Early in the third, Tereza Radova's long distance shot went through some traffic and was eventually redirected by Denisa Křížová past Ahola to tie the game 3-3. 

The Finns outshot Czechia 49-31 and also had an additional 40 or so shots either blocked or not on frame. It could have been a very different game if just a fraction of them were on net. 

Overtime was not enough to find a winner and this game progressed to a shootout. Michelle Karvinen and Petra Nieminen scored for Finland and Ahola made three stops to secure the bronze medal.

What We Learned:

  • Angry Finns – Finland coach Juuso Toivola used colorful language twice in the mixed zone to say that his team was not happy about not even playing for the bronze the past two tournaments and how they worked their behinds off to get back to that spot. This Finnish group doesn't usually get salty, so you know he really meant it when describing how his team won the bronze medal. Toivola said the team was very self-motivated and very focused on this goal and righting what they felt was a wrong – while they of course got support from the team staff, this was very much the players' win.
  • Unflappable MacLeod – There's honestly nothing like talking to Czechia coach Carla MacLeod in a post game mixed zone. She is unfailingly supportive of her team and even when reporters try to lead her to express disappointment, she does not take the bait. It doesn't come off as fake or false - it's just how she views the world and she has a perpetual feeling of gratitude and humbleness about where Czechia was just a few short years ago and keeps that in perspective when talking about losses. She's not pasting over cracks or ignoring problems, but she's also not going to throw any of her players to the wolves or blame anyone. She has helped set a new standard for Czechia and she is also managing expectations and helping her team find their balance of where they fit in the women's hockey hierarchy right now. 
  • Second tournament – Both medal games today felt like a lesson in not getting too caught up in what happened the first time the teams met this tournament. Czechia took a 4-0 win 11 days ago, but that had little to do with what happened between the same two teams today. I often talk about how this type of tournament is both a marathon and a sprint. So much happens in two weeks that the teams that met today barely resemble the ones that played on the 3rd. 

Standout Performances

  • Czechia G Klára Peslarová – After missing last year’s tournament while recovering from an ACL injury, the goalie set a new single tournament record for minutes played by a goalie. She was in net for all seven of Czechia's games and logged 430:00 total minutes, obliterating the former mark of 389:21 set by Nana Fujimoto of Japan in 2021. She proved that she's back in form and one of the best in the world. 
  • Finland F Michelle Karvinen – This really could be a joint award to her whole line, but it was clear throughout this game that they had not just magnificent chemistry, but were the heart of this team. Karvinen just always seems to be in the exact right spot. She plays off her linemates well, adjusts to them and creates a little bit of magic. 
  • Finland D Jenni Hiirikoski – She wasn’t ready to make any career announcements, but just in case this was her last outing for Team Finland, I wanted to make sure and shout out this amazing leader who is one of the original two-way defenders in the women's game. She's a trailblazer. Hiirikoski owns the record for most tournaments played and at 37, has shown a staying power that's unmatched in this game. 


"I think it means a lot. We have struggled for two years in those quarterfinal games that we have not found a way to win. That has been our goal definitely for this tournament – to win the right games and I'm really proud of how we took steps in every game after the first Czech game." – Finland D Jenni Hiirikoski

"We will see. It has been a long season. Now it’s time to take a couple of weeks off and reset." – Hiirikoski

“I played many years with Sanni and what happened has touched us all deeply.” - Finland F Michelle Karvinen on Sanni Hakala

"We have had her in the locker room. I am sad we couldn’t have her on the bench. As soon as we won a couple of players sprinted to the locker room to go get her jersey. It also tells how much she means to us. A lot of us have played with her many years." – Karvinen on Sanni Hakala

"It feels really really good. Last two Worlds they didn't even get a chance to play for a medal. Now we did it and it feels really good. I'm really happy for the players. They earned it. I want to thank the players, but the whole staff and Federation for the support we have and the staff and how hard they worked." – Finland coach Juuso Toivola

"We made long term goals and short term goals and we've been going step by step. We've had our younger players playing with us in European hockey tours and we had some older players come back [Karvinen and Tapani] and we’re really happy with how they did. Players that were in Denmark and in Brampton [at the last two World Championships] – they were so pissed off, feeling like, This is not us. We want it back." – Toivola

"I thought we had opportunities. It was just a great game back and forth. I don't know if we needed more of anything. I thought we dug deep. Early in the game we were struggling a bit to find our feet but as the game wore on I thought we got more comfortable. I think the chances were there. I'm just incredibly proud." – Czechia coach Carla MacLeod

"Look where we’ve come from. We’ve been involved with the group for three World Championships and we've competed for a bronze medal in every single one of them. We won two and went to a shootout today. It's not lost on us where this program is going and where we’ve come from. You have to be able to put it in perspective." – MacLeod 

"I'm the most proud coach on the planet. Look at them. Look how hard they play. It's unbelievable. I'm not a results-based coach. I never have been. I watched my team give their heart and soul into this one, and I walked into that room and said I need you to hold your head up because I couldn't be more proud. We couldn’t be more proud as a staff. This is a stinger. But it's okay to be stung. You care. Y0u want to win. How do you channel that energy now to make sure that we are motivated to get even better. That's the privilege of these games is they sit with you a little bit longer than the wins do. It will motivate us." – MacLeod

"I think it's a hockey game, so it goes either way and unfortunately it went the other way than we wanted. We have to keep going and next year we have a World Championship at home so we want to take it back and compete for the medal and maybe not just the bronze one. It sucks right now, but I think we can learn from it also. I'm really proud of our group and what we accomplished here." – Czechia F Michaela Pejzlová

"I think she's, if not the best goalie, one of the best goalies in the world. She's the backbone of our team. We trust in her so much." – Pejzlová on goalie Klára Peslarová

Postgame Video - Finland F Michelle Karvinen

More postgame video will be available later today for our $5/month and up subscribers.

(Photo: IIHF)