US Women’s Hockey Team, Womens ice hockey is the snow leopard of the Sochi Games, its survival in the Olympics endangered by the success of the United States and Canada, which have dominated the sport since its Olympic debut in 1998.
In the past four Winter Games, only Sweden, in 2006, has been able to break the North American stranglehold on the top two podium spots. Finland, ranked third in the world, entered the Sochi Games confident it had closed the gap after pulling off an upset against the Americans in November at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Finland fell back on Saturday. It was only a preliminary game, but its 3-1 defeat to a resurgent United States team at Shayba Arena was worrisome. The Finns were outshot, 15-3, in the first period and 43-15 over all and did not score until the final minutes.
The top two teams, the Americans and the defending champion Canada, are so strong that their fans have cause to wonder if they are rooting for them at the sports peril. Hilary Knight, a forward whose unassisted goal off a turnover in the opening minute set the tone for the game, said she took it as a backhanded compliment when she heard people say, Yeah, we dont want you to be one of the top two teams.
Womens Tournament Ice Hockey Preliminary Round, Group A Team 1 2 3 Score
United States 1 2 0 3
Finland 0 0 1 1
Sat, Feb 8th 2014, 3:00 AM ET (Unavailable)
Period 3 Summary
Penalty Min. 2
59:08: Goalie change, Noora Raty (goalkeeper out)
55:22: Goal, power play (1 player), Susanna Tapani (goal scorer), Michelle Karvinen (assist)
54:57: Penalty for hooking, Brianna Decker
Period 2 Summary
Penalty Min. 2
36:26: Penalty for hooking, Hilary Knight
35:59: Goal, power play (1 player), Alex Carpenter (goal scorer), Anne Schleper (assist)
34:32: Penalty for holding, Venla Hovi
29:02: Penalty for holding, Anna Kilponen
27:42: Goal, , Kelli Stack (goal scorer), Hilary Knight (assist), Megan Bozek (2nd assist)
Period 1 Summary
Penalty Min. 0
13:04: Penalty for interference, Nina Tikkinen
01:22: Penalty for hooking, Rosa Lindstedt
00:53: Goal, , Hilary Knight (goal scorer)