Ever since Finland became the first non-American team to defeat Canada during the group stage of the 2017 Women’s World Championships, this morning's match-up between the two teams has been hotly anticipated ― and it did not disappoint.
Meghan Agosta got the Canadian team started 35 seconds in, etching her place in history as the sole holder of the record for the second-most Olympic goals off a sweet assist from Mélodie Daoust. Agosta, who's playing in her fourth Games, is now just one shy of matching Hayley Wickenheiser's record of 17 Olympic goals.
With just under three minutes left in the period we would witness one of the strangest sequences ever seen in hockey, after Marie-Philip Poulin capitalised on a rare turnover by Finnish defender Jenni Hiirikoski before going top shelf on the net. It was a beautiful play...but there was no whistle and play continued for a full 40 seconds until finally there was a stoppage allowing for the ‘no goal’ to be reviewed.
While it was eventually allowed (and 43 seconds added back to the clock), almost the same thing would happen just minutes later when, mere seconds before the buzzer, Natalie Spooner poked a Rebecca Johnston shot into the net. The play was labelled a no-goal on the ice and after extensive reviewing, that ruling was upheld. (I’m not saying the angle we had showed a different story, but when even the Australian TV channel's twitter is questioning how that is not a goal, well...)
The bad news continued for Finland and Noora Räty heading into the second period as Finland failed to register a shot on goal for the first 11 minutes of the period while Räty faced a barrage of shots. Among those was a beauty by Daoust, who scored her third of the Games in what has been somewhat of a coming out party for her after missing the last three World Championship rosters. Jill Saulnier then rounded out the period with her first Olympic goal to make the score 4-0 after two.
Finland would eventually get on the board in the third period with a goal from Riikka Välilä on a complete Canadian defensive collapse, but it would be a classic case of too little too late. Räty was pulled with just under four minutes left in the period in a risky move by the Finnish coaching staff, but even with the extra skater they were unable to close the gap.
Shannon Szabados made 22 saves on 23 shots for Canada, while Räty stopped 28 of 32 through 56:19.
USA 5, OAR 0
(The Olympic Athletes from) Russia will “reux” the day they played against Jocelyne Lamoureux at the 2018 Olympics. The United States cruised to a 5-0 rout behind her historic game, which included three points, and Gigi Marvin’s two points.
After starting Nadezhda Morozova in their first game, the OAR elected to deploy 19-year-old Valeria Tarakanova against the States.
The US opened the scoring midway through the first, with Kacey Bellamy burying a tape-to-tape pass from Lamoureux-Davidson to open the scoring. However, their period was a bit iffy, with the stars and stripes managing just seven shots on goal.
However, they left those issues behind them in the second, thoroughly dominating and scoring three goals. The US fired shot after shot on Tarakanova, who would not relent until midway through the period, when Lamoureux pounced on a rebound from her twin sister Monique to double the lead.
Six seconds later, right off the draw, Lamoureux converted again. She burst through the Russian defense, capitalizing on a breakaway with a beautiful backhander to make it 3-0, USA. This set an Olympic record for fastest two goals by a player in the history of Olympic ice hockey - men’s or women’s.
It was up to 4-0 three minutes later, as Marvin buried a rebound from a blast by Amanda Pelkey past Tarakanova. That was the last we’d see of the SKIF Nizhny Novgorod goaltender, as she was pulled for Nadezhda Morozova, who impressed against Canada.
The US thought they’d made it 5-0 midway through the third, but a Hannah Brandt goal was called back after a review determined that she used her hand.
No matter. Brandt scored anyway with less than two minutes to go, burying a loose puck after Dani Cameranesi was tripped up in the slot to make it 5-0 for real.
For the US, Nicole Hensley made 13 saves for the shutout. Tarakanova stopped 23 of 27, while Morozova stopped 22 of 23 in relief.