WW: Sweden into bronze game

Women's medal games feature the usual suspects


Sweden celebrates its eighth berth in the World Women's gold medal game. Photo: HHoF/IIHF Images

Russia – Sweden 0-8 (0-1, 0-4, 0-3)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – Sweden skated into its eighth bronze medal game at the Women’s World Championship after beating Russia, 8-0. Sweden will take on Nordic rival, Finland in the third-place game on Sunday.
It took nearly half the game for the Swedes to crack the game open, when they notched four goals in about a five minute span to crush the Russian hopes for a medal game berth. After the 2-0 goal from Frida Nevalainen, the Russians simply fell apart. Until then, the Russians were playing stingy defense, holding Sweden to a slim 1-0 lead through the first half of the game.
Tina Enstrom provided the only Swedish offense in the first period, scoring at the 15:21 mark. The teams were relatively even in the first period, each getting nine shots. The game remained close until Nevalainen’s goal on a shot off the inside post at 31:32. The goal opened the flood gates as the Swedes poured in another three goals in the next four minutes. Maria Rooth and Erika Holst built the lead to 4-0. Holst swiped the puck deep in the Russian zone and fed it to Elin Holmlov, who put in a back-handed shorthanded goal to close the period with a five-goal lead.
Russia switched goaltender Nadezda Alexandrova for Irina Gashinnikova at the start of the third period, but it made little difference as Sweden quickly built on its lead 4:15 into action when Pernilla Winberg scored. Klara Myren scored mid-period and Danijela Rundqvist put in a late marker to bring the final to 8-0. It is the eighth game at this World Women's championship that was a shutout with at least a seven-goal margin as the strong teams have been flexing their offensive muscles throughout the event. Valentina Lizana earned her second shutout win in net for Sweden.
Finland holds a 5-2 advantage when playing Sweden for third place. Sweden missed the bronze medal game in 1994, 1997, 2001 and 2008. The Finns have skated for bronze at every World Women’s Championship. Japan – China 2-1 (0-0, 2-0, 1-0)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – Japan beat China by one place at last year’s Women’s World Championship and was able to do the same again this year after a 2-1 win against the Chinese. Unfortunately for both nations, the outcome of today’s game could do nothing to save them from relegation with two teams going down to Division I.
The first period was penalty-filled as the frustration was clear on both benches. Japan emerged as the better team in the second period, going ahead 2-0. Emi Nonaka scored mid-period, and Tomoko Sakagami scored on China's Yao Shi just one minute after China made a mid-game goalie switch.
Rui Sun provided the only Chinese offense of the game, pulling her team to within one two minutes into the third period on the power-play. The goal was Sun’s fifth of this year’s championship. But the win stayed out of reach as China returns home without a win at this year’s World Women’s Championship. Japan finishes this year’s event with a 1-0-3 mark. United States – Canada 1-2 (0-0, 0-2, 1-0)
HAMEENLINNA, Finland – Consider it a warm up for Sunday’s World Women’s gold medal game. Canada and the United States took to the ice to settle first place in their playoff round group, but with both teams assured a spot in the gold medal game, it was more like a game of chess where neither team wanted to reveal their next move. In the end, Canada prevailed in the preview match, 2-1.
The Americans played the better first period, but fell into penalty trouble. Canada got on the board 26 seconds into the second period when Jennifer Botterill scored on a power-play that had carried over from the first period. Jayne Hefford fed the puck through the crease to Botterill who punched in the one-timer past U.S. goaltender Molly Schaus for the momentum-building goal.
Canada increased its lead at the midway mark of the game when Caroline Ouellette scored on a rebound. The Canadians had a strong second period, but it was tough for either team to fall into a rhythm with penalties whistled on both sides. In the first 40 minutes, Canada out-shot the U.S. more than two-to-one.
The third period featured a bevy of penalties and not much else as neither team got their offense going with the extra man. The U.S. pulled to within one with 1:58 left when Monique Lamourleux scored, but the comeback bid fell short as Canada earned 2-1 victory, the bragging rights and a notch in the win column in the record books.
With the win, the Canadians have one advantage for the gold medal game, they will be the home team on Sunday.
Since the start of the World Women’s three-team format, the team that won the playoff round game, also went on to win the gold medal twice. Last year, the U.S. won the playoff round game, 4-2, and then won the golden game, 4-3. In 2007, Canada won both games, 5-4 in the playoff round and 5-1 in the medal game. In 2004, the teams split the wins with the U.S. taking the playoff round game, 3-1, and Canada winning the gold, 2-0. JENNY WIEDEKE



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