SPOONER, WAKEFIELD PACE OFFENCE; LEAD CANADA INTO SEMIS
MALMÖ, Sweden – Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) and Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./IK Guts, SWE) led the way with three points apiece and Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ont./Boston, CWHL) made 15 saves as Canada’s National Women’s Team defeated Finland 6-2 on Tuesday to secure a spot in the semifinals at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.
Spooner scored twice and added an assist, while Wakefield had a goal and two helpers. Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask./University of Wisconsin, WCHA) and Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) each had a goal and an assist. Brigette Lacquette (Mallard, Man./University of Minnesota Duluth, WCHA) also scored for Canada.
Jenni Hiirikoski scored both goals for Finland. Eveliina Suonpaa stopped 23 shots in the loss.
Canada entered the day’s match-up with a perfect 16-0 record all time versus Finland at the world championship, surrendering only 17 goals in those games. The more immediate story coming into this day, though, was Canada’s special teams.
The team’s power play had been stagnant through its first two games, going a combined 0-for-7 against the United States and Russia. An early hooking call against Finland gave the unit a chance to get on track. Only eight seconds into the power play, blue-liner Lacquette took a cross-crease pass from Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) for her first goal with Team Canada.
Canada doubled its lead just over two minutes later, when Spooner used a Finnish screen to beat Suonpaa low to the blocker side.
Finland got one back less than two minutes later. Hiirikoski’s point shot found its way through a sea of bodies, the fourth goal Canada’s penalty kill has allowed in the tournament.
After being outshot 6-5 through 20 minutes, Canada dominated puck possession – and the shot count (12-3) – through the middle frame. The team was finally rewarded with a pair of quick goals late in the period.
Wakefield got behind the defence and sent a slap shot top shelf on the glove side. Thirty-seven seconds later Birchard went five-hole with a shot from the top of the face-off circle.
A three-minute window late in the third wrapped up the scoring. First, Clark drove to the net to score her first goal for Canada’s National Women’s Team. Hiirokoksi replied seven seconds later with a shot that trickled past Lacasse. Minutes later Spooner wrapped up the scoring by spinning to bury the rebound off of Birchard’s point shot.