Finland scored early, pressured the Germans throughout, and skated to an impressive 8-0 win over Germany in the bronze-medal game of the Women’s Worlds.
The win caps an excellent tournament for Suomi which earlier defeated Canada for the first time and later railled from a 3-1 deficit against the United States before losing, 5-3.
For the Germans, the 4th-place finish is their best ever at this event, all the more impressive given that they were in Division I last year.
“We started pretty well in the tournament, but as you can see on the ice against Canada, the United States, and Finland, the gap is big,” acknowledged Germany’s coach Benjamin Hinterstocker. “We don’t have to talk about which team is the better one, but overall, we should be happy for the team and women’s hockey in Germany. I think we represented German women’s hockey well.”
Such was the joy the Germans felt for their efforts here in Plymouth that after the game they took a team photo on ice, not a common practise after a lop-sided medal loss.
Noora Raty earned the shutout for the Finns today, stopping just 11 shots. The Finns put 38 shots on the German goal.
Captain Jenni Hiirikoski had a goal and two assists for the Finns while Petra Nieminen had two goals to lead the balanced attack.
“I think this was a big step forward,” Hiirikoski said, “especally looking to next season and the Olympics. We’re going to be playing and practising with boys next year, and that will help us get to the next level.”
“It’s a good ending,” said Raty. “I think we made a good statement here that we might have separated from the rest of the Europeans and actually have a real chance of playing in the finals one day.”
Today, though, Finland was too much. It scored just 53 seconds after the opening faceoff. Hiirikoski hit Linda Valimaki with a great outlet pass, and Valimaki skated around the German goal and tried a wraparound. Jennifer Harss was there to block the shot, but Petra Nieminen pushed home the rebound.
The Finns had the better of the puck all period and scored two late goals to put the game out of reach for the low-scoring Germans. Ronja Savalainen got one at 16:17 on a scramble, and 73 seconds later Venla Hovi also banged in a shot from close range after some fine digging behind the net from Valimaki.
Hinterstocker opted to give Ivonne Schroder some time in goal, so she started the second. Unfortunately, the Finns were firing on all cylinders and put five pucks behind her.
Hiirikoski started the onslaught with a slapshot from the point on a power play. She then got an assist on the next goal, by Noora Tulus, when Tulus knocked in the rebound off a high shot from Hiirikoski. By the end of the second, it was 32-6 in shots for Finland, and the Germans were simply trying to gain some experience from their second straight bad loss.
“We just wanted to play for each other,” Hiirikoski said. “We wanted to have fun and focus on winning.”