International Ice Hockey Federation

Hiirikoski scores OT beauty

Hiirikoski scores OT beauty

Swiss rally twice but Finns prevail, 4-3

Published 12.02.2014 14:53 GMT+4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Hiirikoski scores OT beauty
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 12: Switzerland's Jessica Lutz #17 looks for a rebound against Finland's Noora Raty #41 during women's preliminary round action at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Jenni Hiirikoski's beautiful goal at 2:38 of overtime gave Finland a 4-3 win over Switzerland. She converted a great pass from Linda Valimaki for the winner.

"Our forward Valimaki did a pretty good job down there," Hiirikoski described. "I think she was pretty tired, but I saw that she was looking for me. I went in and got her pass. It’s always nice to score. When you’re a defenceman, it’s not so often."

Switzerland overcame a 2-0 deficit in the second period and trailed 3-2 in the third before sending the game to overtime, the first extra session of these Olympics. 

With the win, Finland (0-1-0-2) finishes in third place in Group A behind the two North American teams and will now face the loser of tomorrow's Sweden-Russia game in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

"We didn't play well today," suggested Finnish goalie Noora Raty. "If we play like that, we won't win anything this tournament. We usually seem to play better against the U.S. and Canada, but when we're the favourite we have so much more trouble, and I don't know why. It's good to get our first win, though. That's a bit exciting."

The loss leaves the Swiss with an 0-0-1-0 record and in last place of Group A. They will face the winner of the Sweden-Russia game.

"It took us a while to come into the game," said Stefanie Marty, "but after the second period, I think we played well. We played with them and had good chances. At the end, it was unlucky that we lost, but it could have gone either way. We’re now in the tournament. We know we can score. We know we can play, maybe not with the top two teams, but three and up, and we’re looking forward to the quarter-final."

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Finland got the only two goals of the first period. The first came at 7:56 when a Mira Jalosuo point shot was perfectly deflected by captain Hiirikoski. Video review confirmed her stick was below crossbar height.

The second goal was a real deflator for the Swiss as it came when they had a power play. A great pass of the boards by Susanna Tapani just inside her blue line sprang Michelle Karvinen in alone on Florence Schelling, and a quick move and shot beat the goalie over the blocker to make it 2-0 for the Finns.

Coach Rene Kammerer called a timeout to calm his players down, but the Swiss had a tough time penetrating a quick and aggressive Finnish defence.

The second period was a different story, though. The wide-open middle 20 minutes was full of scoring chances and excitement. The Swiss tied the game with two early goals. First, Romy Eggimann barrelled down the right wing and tried to pass to Sarah Forster going hard to the net. Forster, though, was tied up by defenceman Saija Tarkki, but the pass went off Tarkki’s skate and in the far corner past Raty at 3:28.

Four and a half minutes later on a power play, Stefanie Marty took a shot that was blocked by a scrum of players in front. She got her own rebound, and the puck bounced to the back side of the play where Phoebe Stanz popped it in the open side.

"I saw Stephanie [Marty] line up to shoot, and I thought there was going to be a rebound so I got into position," Stanz explained. "It came to Jess [Lutz] first and she tapped it, then it came to me and I thought, 'that's my chance.'"

 The game took another turn later on a melee in front of Schilling. Evelina Raselli fell to the ice and kicked a Finnish player as she went down, earning a five-minute major and match penalty (and automatic one-game suspension as well as a review by the disciplinary panel).

On the subsequent power play the Finns regained the lead when Tapani made a lovely pass from the side of the net to Karvinen in the slot. She had merely to get her stick on the ice and tip it in to give the Finns their lead back.

The Finns were playing a flawless third period and seemed destined to preserve the 3-2 win, but a late power play gave the Swiss an opening they took full advantage of. Stefanie Marty tied the game at 16:25 on a mad scramble around Raty's goal, ensuring a dramatic conclusion to the game in extra time.


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