February 19th consisted of the women’s hockey semifinals at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Starting at what was 10:10 PM CT on February 18th our time, the US took on Finland, and then a few hours later at 6:10 AM CT on February 19th Canada played the Olympic Athletes from Russia. While all four of these teams remained in contention for a medal, these games determined which medal each team will be competing for on Wednesday.
US v Finland
Despite the world class talent of Noora Räty in goal for Finland, the US got on the board early Amanda Pelkey and Meghan Duggan get the puck off the backboards and Gigi Marvin banged it home from the slot at 2:25 of the first period. Brianna Decker went to the box for an illegal hit at 3:31, but Finland’s power play was negated at 4:59 when Michelle Karvinen earned a tripping penalty. After those penalties expired Tanja Niskanen committed an illegal hit of her own at 7:46, which expired two minutes later.
Duggan got away with a knee-on-knee hit that sent Ronja Savolainen colliding head first with the boards and Savolainen ultimately had to be helped off the ice. However, Pelkey wasn’t able to skate by without a hooking penalty at 13:38, which the US killed. To finish off the period Dani Cameranesi sunk the puck top shelf into goal unassisted at 18:38.
Second period was fairly quiet until Sara Sakkinen took an elbowing penalty at 11:23 and she was soon joined in the box by teammate Rosa Lindstedt for cross-checking at 12:00. With 5-on-3 play it would have been difficult for the US not to score, which makes Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s goal from the left dot at 13:21 utterly unsurprising. Kelly Pannek fed Lamoureux-Davidson a cross-ice pass for the goal and Cameranesi had the second assist. Not wanting to waste the rest of the power play, Hilary Knight then scored with a blue line slap shot at 13:55. Sidney Morin and Kendall Coyne assisted.
Clearly frustrated by the way the game was playing out, Isa Rahunen took an interference penalty at 16:39, but the US couldn’t do much with the power play as Knight made an illegal hit at 16:59, turning the game into 4-on-4 play. The period ended with Sakkinen taking a hooking penalty at 19:42, which carried over into third period whereupon Cameranesi scored again just 45 seconds in thanks to some rapid puck cycling. Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessel had the assists.
The Finns did what they could, but the US suppressed their offensive abilities and outshot them 38 to 14 while preserving Maddie Rooney’s shutout in their 5-0 victory. With that the US will be going for gold, while Finland has a very solid shot for bronze.
Canada v Olympic Athletes from Russia
Canada got on the board even faster than the US did in their game, as Natalie Spooner got the puck off the backboards to Jennifer Walefield, who scored 1:50. Blayre Turnbull had the second assist. Angelina Goncharenko went for hooking at 6:04 and Yekaterina Lobova for tripping at 12:35, but the OAR managed to kill both penalties despite being outshot 11-6 and Canada repeatedly nearly scoring in the first period.
Second period Canada’s shots continued to mount as they suppressed any offensive ability the OAR had. Marie-Philip Poulin scored through goaltender Valeria Tarakanova’s 5-hole at 2:10. Melodie Daoust had the lone assist. Then Poulin went to the box for an illegal hit at 3:31. Canada killed the penalty. However, they were unable to score on either of the OAR’s penalties—Maria Batalova, roughing at 7:39, and Yekaterina Smolina, illegal hit at 16:34—as well.
The damn broke third period as the OAR’s defensive abilities crumbled. Canada outshot them 22-4 this period and scored twice in the first three minutes. The first came when Wakefield tried to pass to her teammate at the doorstop, but hit an OAR player instead and the puck bounced into goal at 1:59. Laura Fortino and Turnbull assisted. Then Laura Stacey carried the puck down the right side, had her skates taken out by Smolina, but still managed to complete a pass to Emily Clark, who scored on the doorstep at 2:30. Meaghan Mikkelson had the second assist.
With the score now 4-0 the OAR replaced Tarakanova in goal with Nadezhda Alexandrova. Yekena Dergachyova earned a tripping penalty at 8:17, which Canada could not convert. Then Lobova made an illegal hit at 13:35. On that power play Rebecca Johnson scored on her own rebound right after she thought she had buried it at 14:08. Daoust and Haley Irwin assisted. This goal made the OAR use their timeout to regroup and see if there was a way they could avoid being shutout, as it was already clear they were not winning this game.
At 18:33 Yevgenia Dyupina went to the box on a double minor for interference on a goalkeeper and roughing, while her sparring partner, Brigette Lacquette, simply went for roughing. The opened ice did not result in any more scoring. This meant that Canada shutout the OAR 5-0, after outshooting them 47-14, and gave their goaltender, Shannon Szabados, another shutout in her storied career. Cananda will meet the US for the chance at another gold medal, while the OAR plays Finland in their first opportunity for bronze.
Before the medal games can occur there is one more set of classification games. These will take place when Sweden plays Korea at 9:10 PM CT on February 19th and then Switzerland plays Japan at 1:40 AM CT of the 20th. After that Finland faces the OAR at 1:40 AM CT on February 21st for the bronze medal. For the final finale the US hits the ice against Canada at 10:10 PM CT, also on February 21st, for the gold medal.