2024 Worlds Recap: Finland Wins Bronze in Shootout Thriller

Finland earns bronze medal in tough shootout win over Czechia.

2024 Worlds Recap: Finland Wins Bronze in Shootout Thriller
Team Finland celebrates a goal during their win over Czechia on Sunday in the bronze medal game. Photo courtesy of the IIHF.

On Sunday, Czechia and Finland battled it out for the bronze medal, hardware they have both earned before but with unique situations on the line. Ultimately, it was Finland who was victorious in a shootout, to earn their fourteenth bronze medal at this tournament after Czechia has won it the previous two years.

Finland came into this game only having won two games, both to Switzerland, in this tournament. They struggled to find their footing in the games and even early in this match as Czechia outshot them early.

After one period of play, it was clear this game would be a battle and goals would be hard to come by. It was also clear that both teams were committed to staying disciplined. There were no goals or penalties in the first frame.

Despite Czechia's early momentum, it was Michelle Karvinen who scored first to put Finland on the board. Sasanna Tapani and Pietra Nieminen claimed both assists on the goal that was exactly what Finland needed. They chose to rely heavily on their veterans in this tournament and game, and in this case, it worked out perfectly.

Finland's Savolainen took the game's first penalty for holding, just five minutes into the second period. This gave Czechia a chance on the power play and they were able to capitalize on it, and tie the game up, 1-1.

It was Michaela Pejzlova assisted by Tereza Vanisova (who it was originally credited to) that knocked in the power play goal.

Czechia took back-to-back penalties after that, giving Finland almost a minute of 5-on-3 opportunity, however they could not score before taking a penalty of their own at 13:19.

About a minute after time expired on that penalty, Finland did score next. This time it was a candidate for best goal of the tournament from Viivi Vainikki with the help of Elisa Holopainen. This gave Finland the 2-1 edge.

At 2:20 Siiri Yrjola sat for cross checking, giving Czechia a big power play opportunity and it was Denisa Krizova who scored to tie the game again, 2-2. Tereza Plosova and Tereza Radova both assisted that goal.

A few minutes later, Natalie Mlynkova took a penalty for an illegal hit and Finland put pressure on but could not score on Klara Peslarova in net for Czechia. By the end of the third period, Finland definitely held the momentum but neither team scored and the game headed to overtime.

While the gold medal game and bronze medal games see different overtime rules, they both ended up using them tonight. When the bronze match was not decided after a scoreless ten minute overtime period, the game went to a shootout.

In total, just three goals were score in five rounds of a shootout. The first by Michelle Karvinen for Finland who set the tone the entire game, the second by Klara Hymlarova immediately after Karvinen, and the third by Petra Nieminen who has been a driving force for Finland not only in this tournament but for years.

After a few years of finding themselves off the podium, the landscape of international women's hockey has changed drastically. While it's easy to see USA and Canada battling for gold seemingly every time, the deep competition brewing just under the surface between teams like Czechia, Switzerland, and Finland has proven the future is strong and no medal is guaranteed. Group A is cutthroat and you'll find a million storylines within it's folds

This time, Finland's storyline is a comeback, shootout bronze medal for the ages.