The United States started their quest to retain gold in women’s ice hockey with a resounding 5-2 win over Finland in the preliminary round of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Alex Carpenter and Kendall Coyne Schofield each potted two goals in the opener for the Americans. Savannah Harmon recorded two assists and Amanda Kessel registered a goal and an assist. Maddie Rooney finished with 10 saves in the victory.
In the first period of the game, it was a scary sight as U.S. assistant captain Brianna Decker got tied up with Finland’s Ronja Savolainen and was taken out from behind. She laid down on the ice for a number of minutes before she was stretchered off the ice with an apparent lower-body injury. It was announced on the broadcast that she will not return to the game.
Despite losing their top-line center, the Americans used it as motivation to get on the board. Kessel found the back of the net first, as she cut in from the wall, looked to pass but decided to take it herself, powering around Finland goaltender Anni Keisala for the goal.
Less than three minutes later, the U.S. struck on the power play as Jincy Dunne fed a pass to Carpenter who beat Keisala on the blocker side to extend the lead to two.
In the second period, it was a double dosage of scoring from captain Coyne Schofield to bring Team USA’s lead to 4-0.
First it was Coyne Schofield ripping a shot by Keisala’s blocker off the rush.
Then, 64 seconds later, it was a perfectly executed offensive zone faceoff, as Hannah Brandt won the draw to Savannah Harmon, who fired it on net. Harmon’s shot was deflected by Coyne Schofield by Keisala, bringing the lead to 4-0.
Finland broke the shutout early in the third period with a power play goal by Susanna Tapani. The Finnish forward put a perfectly-placed shot by the glove of Rooney, right inside the post.
Carpenter answered with her second goal of the night, tipping in a pass by Abby Roque to give the Americans a four-goal led yet again.
It was a weird ending of the game, as the final buzzer blew and it appeared as though the U.S. finished with a 5-1 win. However, it was ruled that a shot by Tapani had actually gone into the net with 2:20 remaining. The Finnish forward had put the puck off the back camera of the net and out, and was not called a goal at the time.
However, after review, it was determined a goal, and 2:20 was added back to the clock. In the end, the U.S. still grabbed the win.
The U.S. dominated the Finns in the shots on goal category, peppering Keisala with 52 shots while Rooney faced just 12.
The United States remain perfect against Finland in Olympic women’s ice hockey play with a 9-0 against Finland in Olympic history.
Up next for the U.S. is a matchup with the Russian Olympic Committee on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 8:10 a.m. ET.