Sosina shoots to thrill!
Sosina shoots to thrill!
Russia edges Finns for its third bronze ever
Sosina went to her backhand and lifted the puck past Finnish goalie Meeri Raisanen on the stick side, sparking a wild celebration as the Russians mobbed their heroine.
Sosina said her familiarity with Raisanen as a former SKIF Nizhni Novgorod teammate may have helped, as they used to practice shootouts together after practice. "I wasn’t sure if she still remembers my move or not," said Sosina.
The Russians bounced back admirably after a tough 9-0 semi-final loss to the U.S. Their previous bronze medals came in 2001 and 2013.
"It feels great, amazing," said Russia's Iya Gavrilova. "This never gets old, you know? We won the bronze three years ago [in Ottawa], and now again in Canada. I guess Canada is a lucky country for us!"
There was also an element of revenge. Last year in Malmo, Finland defeated Russia 4-1 for bronze.
The Russians chose the right moments to shine in Kamloops. They lost three straight in the round-robin, but stepped up to beat Sweden 4-1 in the quarter-finals. On Monday, they stepped up again.
It was the third consecutive Women's Worlds at which Russia has played for a medal. That reflects the progress the Russian program has made since injecting more funding, ice time and support in the run-up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Finland outshot Russia 32-23. The Russians prevailed despite failing to convert on five power play opportunities, compared to Finland's two.
Russian goalie Nadezhda Morozova recorded her first shutout of the tournament.
"She’s just the best," Sosina said of Morozova.
Despite coming fourth, the Finns can take pride in their performance in Kamloops. They battled hard in losses to both finalists, falling 2-1 to the U.S. in the round-robin and 5-3 to Canada in the semi-finals.
"I’m really proud of my team," said disappointed Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikoski. "We really worked hard and played together. We put it all out there today, but Russia was one goal better."
Both teams came out skating. Raisanen felt the heat early on as Russia barely failed to convert two glorious chances generated by forward Elina Mitrofanova.
Finland took the first penalty at 7:39, but generated better opportunities than Russia while shorthanded, with Michelle Karvinen and Riikka Valila dancing around the Russian net. Their linemate, 16-year-old Petra Nieminen, was also dangerous as the Finns carried the play as the period wore on.
About two minutes into the second period, Russia’s Yelena Dergachyova had a wide-open net but bounced the puck off the inside of Raisanen’s left post. Teammate Valeria Pavlova raised her arms in premature celebration.
In the third period, Raisanen foiled Russian assistant captain Yekaterina Smolentseva from close range with her right pad late in a subsequent Russian man advantage.
Nieminen came close on another solo rush through Russian defenders, but couldn't tuck it past Morozova's right skate. Raisanen was shaken up on a collision late in regulation, but remained in the game.
With 1:37 to play, Pavlova hauled down Finnish speedster Sanni Hakala coming down left wing, and Finland got just its second power play of the game. Finnish head coach Pasi Mustonen called his timeout. The Finns were all over Russia, but couldn't cash in before the end of regulation.
"Mentally, we were so close in the Canada game," said Raisanen. "We didn’t play our best game tonight."
Russia had the better chances in overtime. Smolentseva shot wide on a breakaway, and Raisanen stymied Sosina from right in front just before the horn.
Reflecting afterwards, Gavrilova said: "For Russia, it’s great for women’s hockey. We wanted to do it for all the girls who are watching right now. More attention, more promotion for women’s hockey. It’s not just about Russia, it’s the whole world. This was a good intense game. So hopefully everyone enjoyed it and more girls are going to come to women’s hockey."
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