The USA women’s ice hockey team came out with a bang in Sochi and defeated Finland 3-1. They hope to win the gold after they won the silver in Vancouver in 2010.
Finland was an important first game for the women and they skipped the opening ceremony to rest. They lost to the country at the Four Nations Tournament in November. Plus, Finland’s goalie Noora Raty is one of the best in the world. She is a two-time NCAA champion and went 41-0 in her senior year at University of Minnesota.
“I told my teammates she is going to stop the first shot for sure, unless you are Hilary Knight and then it’s going to go in,” U.S. forward Kelli Stack said. “But the rebounds are going to go in and the deflections are going to go in.”
Knight scored the first goal 53 seconds into the game.
“We wanted some early shots,” Knight said. “Noora is a world-class goalie, so it was a surprise to get an early goal by her.”
America outshot Finland 43-15. Despite the pressure, Raty stayed in the game and forced the American women to score only ugly goals.
“I kind of caught the puck in my jersey and then batted it out of the air,” Stack said. “I’ve done that before against her in college. When Boston College played Minnesota in the NCAA regionals and we scored four goals against her in the first period, one of our defensemen shot the puck and I caught it and spun around and hit it in the net.”
Alex Carpenter scored with 4:01 left in the second to make it 3-0. Susanna Tapani scored for Finland with 4:38 left in the game on the power play.
Team USA plays against Switzerland at 5AM ET on Monday.