Last night, the world was again reminded that hockey is Canada’s game. The expectation was that Finland would be a tough opponent but that Canada would ultimately prevail as they have an all-time record of 82-2-1 against their opponent. A competitive start turned into a blowout as Canada scored 11 goals on Finland who were without coach Pasi Mustonen who left Beijing on Friday because of an illness in the family. Here are three takeaways from last night’s game between Canada and Finland.
Allow Me to Introduce, Sarah Fillier
At just 21-years-old, Sarah Fillier is being described as the Connor McDavid of women’s hockey. She is a player who has it all including speed, agility, and strength. Last night, she finished the game with two goals as she got the scoring started for her team getting the puck past Meeri Raisanen a little over a minute into action. Last night marked the second time this tournament that she scored two goals in a game.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity and I’ve been putting in the work as well as the rest of the girls,” Fillier said. “So putting in two goals today and two goals the other game is good for my confidence and good for the team.”
Fillier is from Georgetown, Ontario, and began her playing career in 2012 with the Oakville Jr. Hornets of Ontario’s Provincial Women’s Hockey League. During her time with the club, they were consistently one of the top teams and during the 2015-16 campaign, she earned a silver medal at the OWHA Provincial Championships.
Currently, she plays for the Princeton Tigers women’s ice hockey team in the ECAC Hockey conference in the NCAAs Division I women’s ice hockey. The 5-foot-4 forward made a name for herself at the Rivalry Series back in October when she led Canada past the United States scoring two goals including the go-ahead goal.
A Dominant Second Period Performance Leads to Victory For Canada
As the puck dropped on the second period of the game, the ice could have tilted in Finland’s favor. They were only down a goal, and by no means were they out of it, but things turned ugly as Fillier quickly scored her second of the game and both Elisa Holopainen and Sanni Rantala took consecutive penalties for their team.
Team Canada scored five goals in the second frame led by Brianne Jenner who scored twice in less than five minutes. This tournament marks Jenner’s third time on the Olympic stage and she is showing no sign of slowing down. Canada had two power-play opportunities, but Finland’s penalty kill unit was able to keep them off the scoreboard at least while they had the player advantage. Team Finland simply could not compete with their opponent and was outplayed on every area of the ice.
“In the second period, I think our offense started to come more and we were able to find those open spots and bury some pucks on their goalie,” Natalie Spooner said of Team Canada.
Will Anybody Be Able to Beat Canada?
After two games, Canada scored an impressive 23 goals while Finland scored three goals in as many games. At the conclusion of the game, it left fans around the world wondering if there is anyone who can beat Team Canada. Last night, both Jenner and Sarah Nurse earned a hat trick in their team’s victory while Canada’s goaltender, Ann-Renée Desbiens, made 28 saves allowing only one goal in the first period.
Entering this tournament, the United States was deemed to be Canada’s biggest threat as they beat them in a shootout four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, taking first place in the tournament. This year, they are also undefeated and will meet their rival on Feb. 8. Canada won four consecutive gold medals before the United States took first place last Olympics.
Ahead of the anticipated matchup with the United States, Team Canada is slated to play Russia. Finland, who will be looking for their first victory of the tournament, is scheduled to face Switzerland and both games will take place on Feb. 7.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and is a credentialed correspondent covering the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.