2024 Worlds Recap: Coyne Schofield Cashes in Twice in 5-3 Win Over Finland

Finland gave Team USA a scare at the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship, but the U.S. overcame it to stay undefeated while Finland remains winless.

2024 Worlds Recap: Coyne Schofield Cashes in Twice in 5-3 Win Over Finland
Kendall Coyne Schofield and Hilary Knight celebrate a goal against Finland. Photo courtesy of the IIHF.

Eight goals, twelve penalties, and a potential upset scare for Team USA made for an eventful game last night, as they downed Finland 5-3.

The first period was a penalty palooza. There were nine penalties, with three trips, two illegal hits, coincidental roughing minors, one hook, and a delay of game called. Finland got four penalties to the Americans’ five. At one point, the U.S. was on a 5v3 for 38 seconds, but besides that and the coincidental minors, it was all one-player advantages. 

That said, penalties were not the period’s only events. In a departure from the previous two U.S. games, where only one goal was scored in the opening frame, each team potted two in this one.

Finland kicked off the scoring on their first power play, with Elisa Holopainen sniping a Jenni Hiirikoski shot past Aerin Frankel at 6:54. It was the first goal the U.S. allowed this tournament.

However, 64 seconds later, Abbey Murphy tied the game after tapping a Hannah Bilka wraparound attempt past Anni Keisala. Caroline Harvey also assisted on the goal.

The scoring then took a break, although the penalties continued. Then, on their third power play, Hilary Knight ripped a shot home to give them a 2-1 lead about 30 seconds after their 5v3 expired. It was a lethal shot by Knight that deflected off a Finnish defender’s stick and past Keisala. Laila Edwards and Taylor Heise notched the assists.

Finally, Holopainen notched her second of the game on another Finland power play with 25 seconds remaining. The U.S. bench inexplicably decided to challenge the play for goaltender interference despite Frankel initiating most of the contact. They deservedly lost the challenge and earned an avoidable delay-of-game penalty.

The chaotic first period ended with the teams tied at two despite the U.S. holding a 15-4 shot advantage. Both teams scored beautiful goals and Finland was solid defensively despite allowing 15 shots, while the U.S. defense and penalty killing were uncharacteristically porous.

The U.S. started the second period with 1:35 left on the delay of game penalty, and then the parade continued when Heise went to the box for hooking about four minutes later. However, just eight seconds after emerging from the box, Murphy fed a pass to Heise, who snapped home a wicked wrister to give the U.S. a 3-2 lead off a 2-on-1 with Bilka.

Later, Kendall Coyne Schofield and Haley Winn continued their stellar tournaments when Coyne Schofield snapped a Winn pass home to double the U.S. lead at 11:40. It was a goal Keisala probably wants back, but also an excellent shot by Coyne, who ripped it five-hole while using a Finnish defender as a screen.

A few minutes later, the U.S. got another power play when Susanna Tapani went to the box for boarding. They landed some shots on goal but couldn’t extend the lead again.

With under a minute remaining, Tapani sprung Sofianna Sundelin on a partial breakaway. Frankel went for the poke check but missed, and Sundelin showed great patience to roof it backhand for a beautiful goal to bring Finland back within one.

The U.S. led 4-3 after 40 minutes while outshooting Finland 28-8. It was a dominant offensive period by the Americans, but defense remained an issue. They completely lost track of Sundelin on the goal and gave up too many quality chances overall despite the low Finnish shot total.

That said, just 15 seconds into the third, Coyne Schofield buried an excellent response goal. Knight hit the post after making a nice move, but Alex Carpenter corralled the puck and sent it through the crease to Coyne Schofield, who was waiting on the doorstep.

The third period was relatively quiet after that. The only penalty came just over eight minutes in when Karvinen took an undisciplined roughing penalty. Winn was kneeling on the ice after a whistle, and for some reason, Karvinen thought it’d be a good idea to whack her in the face right in front of the referee. 

Finally, Finland pulled Keisala with 1:26 remaining. They got a couple of looks, but Frankel shut the door. Coyne Schofield got a great chance to complete her hat trick into the empty net with under a minute to go, but she shot it just wide. So, time expired with Team USA winning 5-3 while outshooting Finland 45-12.

Overall, this was not the United States’ best outing. They still controlled most of the offensive play, but their defense and penalty-killing were uncharacteristically sloppy, especially in the first period. However, they buckled down in the third and showed resilience in getting the job done. Adversity can be a good thing to face, especially given the United States has a younger group this year, and it should help them going into Monday’s showdown with Canada.

Finland also deserves a lot of credit for how they played. They were aggressive all game and played with a lot of jump. Despite allowing 45 shots, they did a reasonable job of keeping the Americans to the outside while being opportunistic offensively. After a rough loss to Czechia to open the tournament, Finland put up two strong performances against the best teams in the world in Canada and the U.S., so keep an eye on them heading into the knockout rounds. The gap between Finland and North America has closed considerably considering what it used to be, and it’s great to see for the sport.

The United States is back in action on Monday as the best rivalry in hockey takes center stage yet again when they take on Canada at 7 p.m. EDT. Finland is also back in action on Monday, facing off against Switzerland at 3 p.m. EDT.