On Wednesday, Finland defeated Switzerland and Russia defeated Sweden and moved on to the semifinals, where the United States and Canada await. In relegation round action, Japan took a 1-0 lead over Germany in the three-game series.
Quarterfinal #1: Finland 3, Switzerland 0
It was a fairly convincing win for the Finns, who outshot Switzerland by a two-to-one margin while posting a shutout. Finland will meet Canada in the semifinal game at 10 a.m. (ET) Friday.
Finland’s power play propelled them to the win, as the Finns scored two of the three goals with the player advantage to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the third period. Michelle Karvinen made a welcomed return to the line-up and got Finland on the board first late in the first.
After a scoreless second period, Linda Valimaki added another power-play tally just over the halfway mark of the final frame. The Swiss pulled goaltender Florence Schelling for the extra attacker in search of two goals to tie it, but Rosa Lindstedt notched an empty-netter with 3:11 remaining.
Goaltender Meeri Raisanen made 15 saves in the shutout for Finland, while Karvinen posted a two-point effort. Having her available against Canada tomorrow will be key. The Finns played the Canadians tight on Tuesday, and if they can do the same again, having a player with her ability will make a big difference for them.
Quarterfinal #2: Russia 2, Sweden 1
Two third-period goals pushed the Russians past the hosts and through to the semifinals, where they will face off against Team USA at 6 a.m. (ET) Friday.
The Russians and Swedes played each other scoreless for nearly two full periods. But Anna Borgvist continued her hot play and put Sweden up 1-0 with just over a minute left in the second.
It was a fairly even game throughout its entirety, but Russia took advantage of a couple of chances in the third to put itself on top. Iya Gavrilova tied it up within the first six minutes, and Olga Sosina scored with 5:26 left to pull the Russians ahead, 2-1. Sweden couldn’t get Sara Grahn out of the net until there were just 33 seconds left on the clock, and couldn’t find an equalizer in that time.
Gavrilova and Sosina each finished with a goal and an assist. Goaltender Maria Sorokina made 24 saves in the win. Goaltending is obviously going to be huge against the United States; the Americans won the last match-up 9-2 on Tuesday, outshooting the Russians 49-5. Russia will need a near-miraculous goaltending performance if it hopes to hold off the American offense and move on to the gold medal game.
Relegation Round: Japan 3, Germany 2 (OT)
Japan mounted a multi-goal comeback on Wednesday to top Germany in the first game of the relegation round series and take a 1-0 lead.
Marie Delarbre got the Germans on the board first within the first eight minutes of the game, scoring a power-play goal to give her team a 1-0 lead. Delarbre scored again early in the second to put Germany up by two. Japan found an answer from Rui Ukita before the end of the period, as the scored with 40 seconds to go to cut the lead in half.
The Japanese got the tying goal from Hanae Kubo just 3:30 into the final period. They continued to press for the go-ahead goal, outshooting the Germans 11-5 in the third. But Jennifer Harss turned aside the rest of the shots she faced to help force overtime.
With only 59 seconds before the game would head to a shootout, Haruna Yoneyama netted the game-winner for Japan, who now has a great shot at remaining in the top division at the 2016 World Championships.
Friday, April 3
Semifinal #1: United States vs. Russia, 6 a.m. EST
Relegation round: Japan vs. Germany, 8 a.m. EST
Semifinal #2: Canada vs. Finland, 10 a.m. EST
Saturday, April 4
Bronze medal game, 6 a.m. EST
Relegation round (if necessary): Japan vs. Germany, 8 a.m. EST
Gold medal game, 10 a.m. EST