It wasn’t pretty for Team Finland or Team Germany in yesterday’s semifinal games. Finland fell to Canada 4-0 and Germany was absolutely smoked by the US, losing 11-0.
It should be a much closer matchup for the bronze, but ultimately, this is Finland’s game to lose. Germany has been a pleasant surprise up until this far in the tourney, but they’ll be playing a Finland team that managed to take down Canada, and that’s going be a tall task.
On one end, we have one of the top net minders in the world in Noora Räty for Team Finland. She made several key stops against Canada in the semifinal but was hard on herself in the postgame because Szabados outdueled her.
“I think we were a little bit on our heels and it took us a little bit to get going and I thought we were playing really well in the second, and if we score there it’s 1-1, but they scored a pretty nice one there, I should’ve had that one,” said Räty. “Pretty mad at myself that I couldn’t come up with the big save there.”
On the other end of the ice, Germany has the hottest goalie in the tourney in Jennifer Harss. Before the blowout against the United States (we’re just going to conveniently forget that game ever happened for the sake of this preview), she had a .75 GAA and a .971 save percentage in 160 minutes of play. She’s legit, and if she can stand on her head again, Germany will have a chance.
Neither team was able to get a goal in their semi games, but that hasn’t been a problem for Finland for most of the tournament. Germany may have a tougher time getting their offense together, though you could see flashes of what they were capable of in the game against the US.
For Räty, she mentioned that Finland’s game plan going into the game against Canada was to screen their goaltender, something they weren’t able to execute.
“We could have really screened her,” said Räty postgame. “We kept taking easy shots on her hands, and kind of like our plan was to screen her, but I could see her all the time. She’s one of the best goalies in the world and you’re not going to score from the blue line.”
That may be what it takes for either Finland or Germany to score in today’s game. If both goalies play the way they’re capable of playing, a pretty goal isn’t going to cut it.
Based on what we’ve seen so far in the tournament, Finland is the clear favorite to win. If Germany wants to stay in the game, they’ll need to come out fast against the Finns.
But that goes without saying for Finland, too. Räty mentioned that her team came out a bit flat against Canada. They won’t be able to do that in the bronze medal game either, though coming out slow against Germany might not be as dangerous as coming out slow against Canada.
You can find out how to watch the games here. The bronze medal game begins at 3:30 pm ET.