Well folks, the day has come. The 2016 Four Nations Cup has concluded. It was a fun ride for some, not so much for others. As always, two games on the schedule, the matchups we expected: Finland vs Sweden for bronze and Canada vs USA for gold (We have definitely seen this narrative before). Both games were played in Järvenpää, Finland.
Just Call Them The Comeback Kids - FIN 2, SWE 1
They did it, ladies and gentlemen! The host country completes their comeback to secure third place! Sweden takes last place; unfortunately they go home with no wins and just three goals scored in their four games played this tournament. This will no doubt raise more questions about the wisdom of some controversial roster moves made by coach Leif Boork.
Most of this game was marked by penalties. All the scoring came in the second, when Finland’s Sari Kärnä got the party started at 1:57 of the frame. Just under nine minutes later, on a power play that saw Finland’s Petra Nieminen in the box for boarding, Sweden’s Lisa Johansson buried the puck behind Finnish goaltender Noora Räty to equalize.
Venla Hovi converted on the power play with eight seconds to go in the second period, giving Finland a 2-1 lead.
Although Sweden pushed hard for the equalizer in the third, they didn’t manage to achieve it, even after pulling goaltender Sara Grahn for the extra attacker at 57:23. Finland held on to win bronze, their twelfth 3rd-place finish in tournament history.
They Came To Collect Silver & Gold - CAN 3, USA 5
There are two types of rivalries: those manufactured by spin and perception, and those that are, well, real. These two powerhouse women’s teams is the latter.
Team USA didn’t have the greatest start to the first period. Team Canada Captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored the opening marker at 3:40 and the Americans responded with three minor penalties. All three were killed off though; Canada was unable to widen the 1-0 gap and Emily Pfalzer tallied the equalizer at 16:51 with an assist from Haley Skarupa. Hilary Knight gave Team USA the lead at 18:10 and the teams headed into the first intermission at 2-1 USA.
What the second period lacked in scoring it made up for in penalties, with Team Canada seemingly determined to even up numbers in the box as well as on the score sheet. Canada got caught with too many players on the ice at 3:52; Mélodie Daoust served the minor. Kelli Stack went off for hooking at 8:48 to put Canada on the power play, but Team USA killed off the penalty and returned to even strength with no harm done.
Canada went back to the penalty kill at 12:24 when Renata Fast was called for interference, and again at 14:55 after Marie-Philip Poulin was called for slashing. Team USA was unable to capitalize, though, and the score remained 1-2 after forty minutes of play.
The score held for 5:50 into the third period. Canada’s Laura Stacey got the tying goal past USA goaltender Alex Rigsby, but Brianna Decker’s swift retaliation at the other end put the Americans back on top less than a minute later. From there Team USA scored two more more goals in just over five minutes of play to take a commanding 5-2 lead.
Team Canada Captain Marie-Philip Poulin managed to get one back with 40 seconds left in regulation after goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer left the net, because of course she did. Even with an extra attacker the Canadians were unable to complete the comeback and fell to Team USA 3-5.