Canada fights way to tough win over Finns
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Canada needed 50 minutes to finally get a puck past Finland goalie Noora Raty.
So when Megan Agosta scored to break a scoreless tie in the third period, it was a big relief.
"I’ve never seen them celebrate as much as they celebrated that first goal," Raty said Monday night after Canada won 3-0 to clinch a spot in the Olympic women’s hockey semifinals. "That showed they were probably getting frustrated. We have never beaten Canada in our history, but this showed we are maybe closing the gap."
Agosta scored on a power play with 10:33 left in the third period, and Jayna Hefford and Rebecca Johnston added insurance goals to keep Canada unbeaten in the round-robin heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the United States. The two North American countries are the only ones to have won an Olympic or world championship gold medal.
"We expected it to be a great game and a close game," said Canada goalie Shannon Szabados, who made 14 saves. "I think that was the key to it: We didn’t get frustrated."
A two-time NCAA champion at Minnesota, Raty made 39 saves for Finland but she couldn’t stop Agosta’s slapshot on a power play. Hefford made it 2-0 with about three minutes later, and Canada took a 3-0 lead when Marie-Philip Poulin brought the puck in on a 2-on-1 and passed it to Johnston just outside the crease for the easy tip-in.
"We played really well for 50 minutes. We were not really troubled. Then we ran out of gas," Raty said. "When you play against Canada and the U.S., we have to play for 60 minutes and you can’t make any mistakes."
By losing 3-1 to the United States and playing Canada to a scoreless tie for almost 50 minutes, Finland cemented its standing as the third-best team in the world and the favorite to win the bronze medal at the Sochi Games.
The Finns play their preliminary round finale on Wednesday against Switzerland, which was not competitive in either game against the North Americans, getting outscored 14-0.