In the wee hours of the morning Finland took on the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) for the 2018 Olympic bronze medal. As this was the biggest game of the tournament for both teams with hardware on the line, they went with their best goaltenders. For the OAR that meant Ndezhda Morozova was in goal, while Finland had Noora Räty between the pipes.
The teams were evenly matched first period with similar chances and equal shots, 9-9. Maria Batalova took an early penalty cross-checking penalty at 1:31. Finland cycled the puck on the power play until Minnamari Tuominen shot into traffic from the center of the blue line. As the puck arced across the zone Petra Nieminen tapped it just enough that Morozova missed and she scored at 2:23. Susanna Tapani had the second assist. Svetlana Tkachyova took a holding penalty at 12:21, but this penalty expired harmlessly.
Second period started with Michelle Karvinen and Tampani making a sweet tic-tac-toe pass to beat the defenders and Morozova as Tampani scored on the doorstep at 10 seconds. This could have marked the end of things for the OAR, but Lyudmila Belyakova’s cross-ice pass to Olga Sosina for the tip in past Räty from just left of the crease at 2:40 kept the OAR in the game.
Things were even looking up for them when they got a 5-on-3 power play after Tuominen took an interference penalty at 2:48 and Ronja Savolainen made an illegal hit at 4:09. However, Finland killed both penalties and then went on a power play of their own at 7:08 after Yekaterina Lobova went for hooking, though they were unable to convert. Linda Valimaki, assisted by Venla Hovi, scored at 12:18. Belyakova hip checked Räty’s face and knocked her head into the post, which sent
to the box for interference on a goalkeeper at 17:41 and Räty stayed between the pipes. The OAR killed the penalty.
Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikpski went to the box for tripping at 4:25 of the third period. This allowed Belyakova to fly into Finland’s zone on a breakaway, and beat Räty glove side by slipping the puck ingot goal just behind her skate at 6:03. Batalova and Alevtina Shtaryova assisted. Isa Rahunen made an illegal hit at 15:00, which was an excellent chance for the OAR to tie things up, but Anna Shokhina’s high sticking penalty at 15:18 neutralized the power play. At 19:50 the OAR used their time-out and then pulled Morozova for the extra skater, but it was too late. With shots 22-22, Finland defeated the OAR 3-2 and earned the 2018 Olympic women’s hockey bronze medal.
Once the clock ran out Finland cleared their bench, rushing onto the ice to dog pile Räty and celebrate their victory. After the initial round of celebrating and hugs they joined hands to dance and sing on the ice before eventually receiving their medals. This was Finland’s third Olympic bronze medal, the previous being from 1998 and 2010, and the team couldn’t be more thrilled. Congratulations ladies!