There’s no love lost between these two hockey teams. They faced off against one another in the bronze medal match in Vancouver, where a lengthy battle on ice ended in a win for Finland and a grudge for Sweden. In today’s game, that lingering animosity was tangible from the very first whistle, and players came off both benches playing hard and fast.
Checking isn’t allowed in women’s hockey. But body contact is allowed, as long as contact is made while both players are in pursuit of the puck. So you don’t have the swooping forecheck you do in men’s hockey, so much as the smashing together of two bodies trying to occupy the same amount of space on the ice at the same time. It’s ugly.
All this physical play meant a fair share of penalties for both teams. Finland scored late in the second, but Sweden tied up the game not long after with a power play goal shot by Anna Borqvist.
Sweden claimed the lead in the third, and then it was Finland’s turn to tie it up. Emma Nuutinen made the goal for Finland off a pass from from Karoliina Rantamaki.
Finland soon had another costly penalty called against them, and Sweden regained the lead with a power of a shot off the blue line from defenseman Emma Eliasson.
Looking to tie things up again, Finland pulled arguably their most accomplished player on the team (Goalie Noora Raty), and naturally Sweden’s Emma Nordin scored an empty netter.
The final score was 4-2, Sweden.
During the game, announcers from NBC said on more than one occasion that Noora Raty is “the best goaltender in the world.” They didn’t hedge that with best “female” goaltender. They just said best.
And today the world learned that the best goaltender in the world would be retiring after the Sochi games. Not because of injury or waning interest in the game—that’s a privilege that extends only to male hockey players, where you have guys like Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr playing into their early forties.
No. Noora Raty, best goaltender in the world, is retiring at 24 so she can pay her car insurance.
Team Finland goes on to play Germany in the classification round. Team Sweden will play Team USA in the Semifinal on Monday.