If you like goaltender battles, then you missed quite the game!
Finland and the Czech Republic were essentially deadlocked all game, trading chances back and forth end to end. Both buoyed by outstanding goaltending. There was really nothing Czech’s goaltender Klara Peslarova could have done as Sanni Vanhanen barreled down at her.
The Czech Republic made it really interesting at the end but still couldn’t crack the code of Anni Keisala.
The lone goal was scored by the youngest player on their team, Sanni Vanhanen.
The 16-year-old took a penalty, and, the second she was free from the penalty box was streaking up the ice. She caught an ideal bounce off the wall and was off to the races on a breakaway. She got a little lucky in how Peslarova and Czech forward Teresa Vanizova slide after her shot too, as the two Czechs seemed to push the puck into their own net.
The goal was only possible because of the strength of Finland’s penalty kill. They were able to clear the puck and perfectly get the puck to Vanhanen.
Finland had killed off three other penalties, including one to end the first period, to continue their streak of perfect penalty killing in the tournament.
I’d be remiss to not obviously highlight Keisala. This gif of her incredible save is just one of her 29 for a shutout win.
holy smokes this save by Keisala! like woah pic.twitter.com/QOz6xmtcwk— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) August 29, 2021
Goals: Sanni Vanhanen
The Czech Republic’s downfall wasn’t really anything of their own doing. They seemed to do everything right. They peppered Keisala with shots - 29 in total - and from all over. It just happened on a night when they ran into an extremely hot goaltender in Keisala. Sometimes, that’s just how the puck luck goes too.
Heartbreaking loss for CZE who completely outplayed FIN tonight.— Mikael Nahabedian (@hunterofstats) August 29, 2021
Both goalies were stellar, but Anni Keisala simply stole the game. Incredible 3rd period as well for Ronja Savolainen, who is such an underrated defender. pic.twitter.com/Azsb8IdSee
One thing that didn’t help was their power play. Coming into the game they had five goals on the skater advantage and the top percentage in the tournament, converting 22.73 percent of their chances. However, they didn’t score on any of the four power plays tonight. It’s a flip side of the coin type of situation in that the Czech Republic ran into one of the top penalty killing teams in the tournament as well.
Overall, the Czech team looked great. They are a team on the rise and this game only proved it.
TIG’s Players of the Game
These are not the same as the IIHF’s Players of the Game. This honor is based on performance and also vibes.
Finland: Anni Keisala
Czech Republic: Klara Peslarova
I’m on a goalie vibe tonight.