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    2022 Olympics Preview: Team Finland – The Ice Garden

    The Finnish team has struggled to keep up with the American powerhouses of women’s hockey. After all but savoring a gold medal in 2019 and with so many experienced players determined not to quietly retire, Finland is ready to put on the biggest fight of their lives and make a statement on the biggest stage. they will have to control their goal and be disciplined on the ice, but team usa. uu. and Canada can and should look over their shoulders.

    last time

    in 2018, finland landed where it usually does, just behind the us. uu. and Canada, on the podium, but at the lowest level. they took home a bronze medal after beating olympic athletes from russia in pyeongchang.

    Reading: Finland women’s hockey roster 2022

    at the 2019 world championships in finland, the team came closer than ever to a gold medal, and possibly closer than anyone could without winning it. Making waves around the hockey world with controversy, they took home a silver medal after an impressive goalkeeping performance from Noora Räty, and a game-winning goal in extra time…which was disallowed. Resulting in a shootout, the United States finally took home the gold, leaving Finland hungrier than ever.

    With the 2020 championship cancelled, the team had to wait another year to redeem themselves from that loss, but ultimately took home bronze again in 2021 after beating switzerland in their first medal game appearance since 2012.

    list

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    forwards: elisa holopainen, sanni vanhanen, petra nieminen, sanni hakala, viivi vainikka, julia liikala, jenniina nylund, emilia vesa, michelle karvinen, sofianna sundelin, noora tulus, tanja niskanen, susanna tapani Defenders: Sini Karjalainen, Jenni Hiirikoski, Sanni Rantala, Ella Viitasuo, Nelli Laitinen, Minnamari Tuominen, Ronja SavolainenGoalkeepers: Eveliina Mäkinen, Meeri Räisänen, Anni Keisala

    3 key players

    jenni hiirikoski: This won’t surprise anyone, but the first person to notice is the oldest member of the team, the most experienced veteran jenni hiirikoski. her elite prospects page is about a mile long to represent her career in which she has done anything…except win a gold medal. This three-time SDHL champion is coming off a 41-point season, and is one of the best puck drives and playmakers in the game. Her record number of assists will bode well for any teammates who might find the net. She is also the key to the defense of Finland.

    petra nieminen: hiirikoski’s teammate at luleå hf, nieminen is on track for her best professional season yet. she also had the best performance of her in the world championship in 2021 with 6 assists which was huge for the team fighting for the podium. despite her young age, nieminem has a great presence on the ice and she has already proven to be an integral part of the finland team. she is able to play anywhere she needs to be and be the glue the team needs to go far in this tournament. she has the ‘hockey IQ’ as they say, of someone way beyond her age.

    michelle karvinen: another player who is a veteran of the team and has seemingly played everywhere, karvinen brings a lot of experience and confidence to this team. she is a great playmaker, coming off a 6-assist world championship last year. she fairly regularly averages more than a point per game wherever she goes and has the accolades to show that she can hold her own with the best of the best. not really, she’s the best of the best. I have no doubt that she will excel at these Olympics no matter where Finland ends up.

    story to watch

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    goal: The story here is not so much about what to see, but more about what, unfortunately, you won’t see. If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering where Noora Räty is in all of this, and really nowhere. Surprisingly, he was left off the Olympic roster after a reported “conflict” with head coach Pasi Mustonen. Often considered one of the best goalkeepers, if not the best, in women’s hockey history, coming off a fantastic pro season with a .954 save percentage and an incredible run in worlds last year, it seems downright ridiculous. not have it on the list. .

    unfortunately that means we may have already seen the last of noora räty in a finland jersey. it also means that the rest of the team, especially the goalkeepers, have huge shoes to fill.

    schedule

    • February 3 vs. USA uu. at 8:10 a.m. m. and
    • February 4 vs. Canada at 11:10 p.m. m. et
    • February 7 vs. Switzerland at 8:10 a.m. m. et
    • February 8 vs. Roc at 8:10 a.m. m. et

    what success looks like

    If you ask players, I’m sure they’ll tell you that success is like flying home with gold medals around your neck. at this point, especially for older players, the years of getting only bronze must be frustrating. actually, without räty, keeping their place in third place behind the north american teams while battling an impressive swiss team that threatens to break the medal race, would be a success for me. if they can catch a team on a bad day and claim silver, even better.

    Unfortunately, some players may have the last chance to win gold at the Olympics and I just don’t think it’s in the cards for them.

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