The semifinal game between Team USA and Finland that took place on Monday afternoon at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was a different game than their round robin tilt, with the exception of the shots on goal, which were still lopsided in the American’s favor. However, at the other end, USA’s goaltender Maddie Rooney didn’t let any of Finland’s shots get past her for the shutout.
The Americans came out hard and never really dialed it back throughout the game. Their first goal came 2:25 into the opening frame from Gigi Marvin. Meghan Duggan gave a nice feed from behind the net to Marvin who was out in front. Amanda Pelkey got the other assist.
There was a stoppage of play about half way through the period, after Duggan and Ronja Savolainen got tangled up and Savolainen went crashing into the boards and was clearly in pain on the ice. During the replay it looked like a knee-on-knee collision, though there was no penalty called on Duggan, and head coach Robb Stauber was not worried about a suspension. Savolainen was helped off the ice, but fortunately would return to the game in the second period.
As the Americans started the period, so too would they finish it – this time Dani Cameranesi, unassisted off a nice takeaway would put the United States up 2-0 going into the first intermission. Like all of their games, the US women were outshooting their opponent. At the end of the first it was 11-2 in favor of USA.
In the first two minutes of the second period, the Finns saw two penalties called on their players 37 seconds apart: Sara Sakkinen for and elbowing and Rosa Lindstedt with a cross-check. Team USA would score with two seconds remaining in their five-on-three, this time it was Jocelyne Lamoureaux-Davidson, assisted by Kelly Pannek and Pelkey. The Americans still had 38 seconds remaining on the second penalty, and once again as the penalty was winding was winding down, the United States would take advantage, this time from Hilary Knight who was standing in front of Noora Räty’s crease, with the tip from Sidney Morin. Kendall Coyne got the other assist on this one. All of this took place before the second period was even five minutes in. Three more penalties, two on the Finns, and one on the U.S., on which neither side could capitalize finished out the period. Though Team USA would take 1:42 of man advantage time into the third from the second penalty on the Finns. The shots on goal, probably because of the number of penalties to Finland was an astounding 18-7 for a total of 29-9 in forty minutes in favor of the Americans.
Coming out in the final twenty, Team USA proved that giving them a power play can be dangerous. Once again they capitalized. This time it was Cameranesi, with her second of the game, just 45 seconds into the period, assisted by Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessel. This period was perhaps the most even after the goal, in regard to shots and overall play, with Finland trying to increase their pressure which resulted in a lot of north and south play.
It is so clear how hungry this USA women’s team is. And it is that hunger coupled with their amazing skill that will once again take them to the medal round. Since women’s hockey has been added to the Winter Olympics in 1998, Team USA has medaled in each of the Winter Games. They currently have one gold (1998), three silver (2002, 2010, and 2014), and one bronze (2006). They have lost to the Canadians in the Gold Medal game in the previous two Winter Olympics, and they lost to Team Canada in the round robin. They undoubtedly are hungry for the gold. The question is, can they fix what went wrong in the earlier game, and contain the Canadians? That will be answered when the two teams take to the ice in the Gold Medal game on Thursday afternoon.