The final game of the quarterfinals is coming up, and it’ll be a battle to the finish to see who qualifies for the semifinals between Finland and Japan. The Finns will be going for their fourth Olympic medal, while Japan will be competing for their first.
How to Watch
Finland vs. Japan on Saturday, Feb. 12, 3:40 a.m. EST
- United States (EN): NBCSports.com
- Canada (EN): CBC.ca, CBC app
Preliminary Round Recap
Finland (3rd in Group A, 1-0-3, 10 GF, 19 GA)
After a strong outing in their last international tournament, Finland struggled to put their systems together in Beijing. They were upset by the Swiss and their only win in the preliminary round came at the expense of ROC, who they shutout 5-0.
Japan (1st in Group B, 2-1-1, 13 GF, 7 GA)
Japan had an outstanding preliminary round, taking tough opponents in China and Czechia to shootouts and handily beating Sweden and Denmark.
Keys to the Game
- Start on time. Finland got their first and only win of the preliminary round against ROC because they came into the game ready to go and with the motivation to avenge their previous losses. They’ll have to carry that mentality and that punctuality into their tilt with Japan if they want to keep their own medal aspirations alive.
- Power up the PP. Three of the Finns’ goals against ROC came on the power play, and they need to stay consistent with the extra skater if they hope to overpower Japan. Additionally, the team’s 35.29% power play effectiveness is second among all teams at the tournament, which is great for a team that’s been struggling to score.
- Stay focused. Even Swiss coach Colin Muller noticed it when the Swiss shutout Finland 3-0 — despite coming out strong, the Finns struggled to play a full sixty minutes. With the bitter taste of a 1-0-3 record still in their mouths, Team Finland is going to have to come out strong and keep their energy up throughout the quarterfinals if they want to stave off a hungry Japanese team.
- Skate fast. Japan is one of the fastest teams at the Olympics, as evidenced by Hiraku Yamashita’s performance (and goal!) against Denmark in the preliminary round. The team will need to use this skill and all that comes with it to their advantage to beat the Finns and keep their hopes of a semifinal bid alive.
- Don’t let up. Team Japan hasn’t had trouble playing a full three periods, but they need to keep that mentality and stay consistent through the quarterfinals if they want to beat Finland. The Finns have struggled to play a full sixty minutes against the Swiss and other opponents, so it’s important for the Japanese not to let up at any point during the game.
- Say no, Nana. Nana Fujimoto has been a rockstar for Japan so far this tournament, and she’ll need to keep that performance up if she wants to stop Finland. Though the Finns haven’t made it on the scoresheet as much as they have in the past, they’re definitely looking to get back in the groove and prove themselves in the quarters. Fujimoto will have to stand tall to keep her team steady.
Finland: Anni Keisala
Though goalkeeper Keisala’s 12 goals against have her sitting in the bottom three amongst goaltenders with four games played, she’s been extremely reliable for the Finns behind a somewhat shaky defense. She’ll need to come up big against a potent Japanese offense to keep the Finns in this one and prevent an upset.
Japan: Haruka Toko
Left-handed forward Toko has been Japan’s most prolific scorer throughout the Olympic tournament, and the team will definitely rely on her to put up points against Finland. The squad’s scoring efficiency of 9.29% is also second of all teams in the games, just behind Canada and ahead of Finland. Toko’s three goals and 15 SOG have definitely contributed to that statistic.