Finland upsets Canada 4-2, will play for women’s world hockey championship gold

Canada had beat Finland 6-1 to cap the group stage of this year’s tournament Tuesday

Canada won’t play for gold at the women’s world hockey championship for the first time in tournament history.

Finland beat Canada 4-2 in semifinal action Saturday.

The host country will play for gold on home ice Sunday against either the U.S. or Russia, who meet in the other semifinal contest.

The U.S. and Canada had met in the final of all 18 previous world championship finals dating back to the first in 1990.

Canada beat Finland 6-1 to cap the group stage of this year’s tournament Tuesday. But the Finns had better special teams and goaltending Saturday.

In her 200th career game for Finland, goalie Noora Raty made 43 saves for the win before an announced gathering of 4,311 in her hometown.

Ronja Savolainen scored twice, including an empty-net goal, for Finland. Jenni Hiirikowski had a goal and an assist and Susanna Tapani also scored.

Jamie Lee Rattray and Loren Gabel countered for the Canadians, who trailed 3-2 after the second.

Shannon Szabados stopped 15 shots in her first loss against the Finns in 18 starts.

Canada was without captain Marie-Philip Poulin for all but part of one period at the world championship. The highest-scoring player on Canada’s roster reinjured her knee Monday attempting a return.

The loss of forward Blayre Turnbull in the first period Saturday further eroded Canada’s attack. She was in a vulnerable position when Savolainen pushed her and Turnbull went head-first into the boards.

No penalty was called. Turnbull stayed down for a minute and left the ice with assistance and didn’t return.

After losing to the Finns for the first time in a preliminary-round game at the 2017 world championship, Canada went 7-0, beating them by at least three goals in every game until Saturday.

Finland scored its first two goals on the power play and the first three were generated off shots from the point.

The Finns have spent years defending their own end over the years against Canada, so they knew what to do to protect a lead.

Canada’s special teams had been effective through five games. But going 0-for-4 with a man advantage, including 90-plus seconds of a five-on-three early in the second, put it at a disadvantage.

Canadian players twice threw their arms in the air in celebration of a goal in the third, but were disappointed.

The second time didn’t produce a review, but the first did and the no-goal call was upheld.

Tapani tipped a Nelli Laitinen shot between Szabados’s pads at 16:18 of the second to restore Finland’s one-goal lead.

Gabel had pulled Canada even at 7:53 on the rush with Brine Jenner and Ann-Sophie Bettez. It was a broken play, but Gabel got enough stick on it to tip the puck past Raty’s right toe.

Canada couldn’t generate a goal on a two-man advantage early in the second.

The hosts took momentum from that kill into an ensuing man-advantage to lead 2-1 at 6:50 when Hiirikoski scored with a one-timer from the point.

The Finns scored on their lone power-play chance in the first to pull even 1-1.

Hiirikoski, at the point, took a drop pass from Noora Tulus and Savolainen tipped the shot by Szabados at 16:23.

Canada struck early with Rattray on Raty’s doorstep re-directing a Laura Stacey wrist shot at 2:32.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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