Finland’s WCHA Stars Put Scare in U.S. Women

On Tuesday night the U.S. suffered a scare, initiated by WCHA representatives on Team Finland, before some familiar faces from recent Frozen Fours lifted the Americans to a 7-3 win. Goals by Angela Ruggiero (Harvard ’04) bookended goals by Krissy Wendell (Minnesota ’05) and Natalie Darwitz (Minnesota ’05) in breaking a 3-3 third period tie. Archrival Canada had an easier time thanks to Dartmouth senior Gillian Apps, who scored three of her team’s first four goals in an 8-1 win over Sweden.

Friday’s semifinals are now set with the U.S. playing Sweden and Canada playing Finland.

USA 7, Finland 3

Finland mounted its upset threat early, as UMD freshman Mari Pehkonen intercepted an errant Angela Ruggiero pass from behind to the net for an easy 1-0 lead 13 seconds into the game.

Incoming Dartmouth freshman Sarah Parsons tied the game at 8:08 of the period when Wendell found her wide open on the left side for an opposite-side, top-corner finish. That lead was short lived as Emma Laaksonen (Ohio State ’04) converted a give-and-go for an easy score. Finland added a 5-on-3 goal midway through the second for the 3-1 advantage.

The U.S. comeback began with Parsons converting a deep shot from the point on the power play shortly before the second intermission. Veteran Katie King (Brown ’97) converted a screen shot from the point early in the third period to tie the game.

That score held until midway through the third when Ruggiero made up for early blunder with a powerful shot in transition for the 4-3 lead. Then Finland started letting the U.S. skate in circles through the slot. Darwitz did just that in scoring a power play goal less than a minute later for the 5-3 lead. Wendell did the same in providing the Americans’ third goal in a 2:02 stretch. Ruggiero converted a feed across from Darwitz with just under five minutes left to round out the scoring.

Chanda Gunn (Northeastern ’04) stopped 12 of 15 shots in the win. The U.S. took 31 shots itself. The U.S. continued to struggle in compiling 14 minor penalties. More than half the game was spent on special teams.

Canada 8, Sweden 1

Sweden found Apps to be an immovable object in the crease as all three of her goals came from that location in Canada’s 8-1 win. She netted the first, third and fourth Canadian goals before the game was half over. She is tied for the team lead in goals with five.

Dartmouth senior Cherie Piper continued to pile up points with three assists. Her three goals and nine assists tie her with Hayley Wickenheiser for the tournament lead in scoring. Classmate Katie Weatherston also had a goal, her third of the tournament.

Germany 2, Switzerland 1

UMD freshman Michaela Lanzl broke a scoreless tie early in the second period when she received a long pass behind the defense and converted the breakaway top-shelf past Swiss goalie Patricia Elsmore-Sautter. She also provided a point-to-point pass for the assist on the power play game-winner later in the period. Elsmore-Sautter had 29 saves in a losing effort.

Russia 5, Italy 1

The hosts put up a fight for a period before Russia pulled away with a goal in the second and three in the third. Former MIT coach Ekaterina Pashkevich had an assist for Russia.