Finland Scores on Two-Man Advantage in Extra Session for First-Ever Win Against U.S.
HARBIN, China Finland scored during a two-man advantage in overtime to edge out the U.S. Women’s National Team, 1-0, in the top qualifying round of the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship here this afternoon at the Baqu Arena. It marked the first time in history that Finland posted a win against the United States.
Team USA will take on Canada on Thursday at 12 a.m. EDT in its final qualifying-round game before the medal games.
“We competed and battled hard today and had outstanding scoring chances,” said Jackie Barto, head coach for Team USA. “I give credit to the Finnish goaltender, she got stronger and stronger as the game went on. We now have to refocus as a team and set our sights on the game against Canada. We need to find a way to generate offense and capitalize on chances.”
In the first period, Team USA held a 7-3 advantage in shots, but neither U.S. netminder Jessie Vetter (Cottage Grove, Wis.) nor Finnish goaltender Noora Raty allowed a goal as the score remained 0-0 at the end of the frame.
The United States was again held scoreless in the second stanza, being stopped on all seven shots. The Americans killed off two penalties in the period, while Finland’s five shots were saved by Vetter to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0 heading into the third frame.
Despite 13 shots in the last period, Team USA was still unable to solve Raty, while Vetter also held steady in net for the United States to force a five-minute extra session.
In the four-on-four sudden-death overtime, the U.S. squad put up three shots before getting whistled for a pair of penalties at the 1:54 mark. During a delayed call on Gigi Marvin (Warroad, Minn.) for hooking, a mistake during a line change resulted in five U.S. players on the ice as Finland skated the puck into Team USA’s zone. Just before the penalties expired, Heidi Pelttari took a slap shot from the top of the slot that deflected through a screened Vetter’s legs at 3:42 to secure the win for Finland.
Vetter made 14 saves in net for the United States, while Raty earned the shutout for Finland with 30 stops.
NOTES: Natalie Darwitz was named U.S. Player of the Game … Team USA went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Finland was 1-for-5 with the man advantage … All Team USA games are being audiocast live via usahockey.com, and are later archived with video in the same location … Team USA has won one gold medal and nine silver medals in the 10 previous IIHF World Women’s Championships … Joining Jackie Barto on the coaching staff as assistant coaches are Paul Flanagan, head women’s ice hockey coach at Syracuse University, and Kevin Houle, head women’s ice hockey coach at SUNY-Plattsburgh. Dave Flint, head women’s ice hockey coach at Saint Anselm College, is serving as the goaltending coach.
Complete boxscore, game notes and more available on the women’s team page on www.USAHockey.com.