The United States played Finland in the Semifinals of the Women’s Ice Hockey tournament at the Beijing 2022 Olympics. The United States came in second in Group A. They went 3-1-0 in the group stage. In their last game the United States eliminated the Czech Republic. The United States won that game 4-1. Finland came in third in Group A. They had a record of 1-3-0 in the Group Stage. Finland eliminated Japan in their last game. Finland beat Japan 7-1. Finland lost to the United States during the group stage. The score of that game was 5-2.
The score was 0-0 after the first period. Neither the United States or Finland took a penalty in the first period. Finland would take a penalty for tripping 2 minutes into the second period. The United States would score on the powerplay. Cayla Barnes score the opening goal. Hannah Brandt and Hilary Knight got the assists. The United States took a penalty for an illegal hit. USA and Finland would take matching penalties for roughing. With under 2 minutes left in the second period the United States would take a two goal lead. Hilary Knight would score the goal. Savannah Harmon and Kendall Coyne Schofield would get assists. The United States had a 2-0 lead going into the third period.
Finland would take a penalty for cross-checking 29 seconds into the third period. The United States couldn’t capitalize on the powerplay. With under 5 minutes to go the United States expanded their lead to three goals. Hayley Scamurra scored the goal. Cayla Barnes got the assist. USA got a penalty for tripping not even a minute later. Before play would start again Finland would pull their goalie. Finland called a timeout after the powerplay. Finland was able to score with under 30 seconds to go in the game. That brought Finland within two goals. Finland would pull their goalie again. The United States would score again on the empty net. Abby Roque scored the goal. Alex Carpenter and Amanda Kessel got the assists. The final score was 4-1 United Sates.
With this win the United States advance to the gold medal game. Finland still has a chance to medal. they will have to play Switzerland in the bronze medal game. This was a back and fourth game. The United States looked comfortable when the game was tied. They didn’t panic they just kept at their game plan. They never did panic. They stuck with it. In the end they got the result they wanted. The defending gold medalists are back in the gold medal game.
I was fairly confident that the United States would be back in the gold medal game. That was even before the tournament started. During the Group Stage the United States and Canada were playing on a whole other level. Not one of the other teams thus far have been able to keep up with the United States and Canada. The United States and Canada have been so dominate for so long now that them playing in the gold medal game should come as no shocker to anyone.
One more note here. Abby Roque is the first Native American to play for the United States Women’s ice hockey team. Her empty netter goal was the first goal from a Native American for the United States Women’s Ice Hockey team in the olympics. It is also the first goal from a Native American for the United States in Ice Hockey at the olympics period. Hopefully this will help open up the door for Native American youth to get interested in the sport. As a Native American myself (Chickasaw Nation) I think it’s well overdue that this happened. The puck she scored with should be in the hockey hall of fame.
The United States will face Canada in the gold medal game. It promises to be a thrilling game from the top two teams in the entire sport. The game will take place on Wednesday, February 16th at 8pm.