Updated: Feb 24, 2022
BEIJING, China -- Having outshot Switzerland by a convincing 47-15 margin, Finland ended up victorious in the bronze medal women's hockey game at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. With a highly potent offensive attack, the Finns enjoyed their second consecutive bronze medal, an Olympic first, prevailing over the Swiss in a 4-0 shutout.
With the first period scoreless through the opening 11 minutes, Switzerland was unable to take advantage of the game’s first powerplay opportunity. Called for Interference on a goalkeeper at 9:02, Tanja Niskanen’s penalty did not serve as an opportunity for the Swiss to grab the first lead of the game.
Instead, 36 seconds after Niskanen’s penalty expired, it was Finland on the board first. Viivi Vainikka scored on Andrea Braendli, a goal that proved to be the biggest in her career. With the 1-0 advantage, said goal was the game-winning tally, as Finland never relinquished the lead.
Despite the 1-0 lead, Switzerland had multiple opportunities to tie the game. Braendli played valiantly throughout the first and second periods, nullifying a pair of powerplays from the opposing Finns.
Throughout the second, Braendli emerged as the key factor in the score remaining 1-0. With tremendous tenacity, she recorded an astounding 21 saves against Finland. Unfortunately, Switzerland’s offense sputtered miserably, managing only three saves versus Finnish backstop Anni Keisala.
Undergoing a complete collapse in the third period, Switzerland allowed three goals. Called for their fourth penalty of the game, as Sofianna Sundelin went to the penalty box for too many players on the ice, the game’s turning point took place.
Scoring shorthanded at the 3:24 mark of the third, veteran Susanna Tapani, appearing in her third Olympics, provided Finland with the 2-0 advantage. Although the score remained the same for another 11 minutes, Switzerland continued to struggle to mount an offensive attack.
With Laura Zimmerman serving a penalty for an illegal hit, it placed Switzerland in a penalty kill situation at 13:42. Blueliner Nelli Laitinen buried the puck past Braendli for her second goal in Beijing, the game firmly out of reach as Finland extended their lead to three goals.
Before the period expired, Finland managed a second powerplay goal. Called for roughing with less than three minutes remaining, Lena Marie Lutz sat frustrated in the penalty box, watching another veteran for Finland, Michele Karvinen, scoring on the power play. Contributing the assists were Petra Nieminen and captain Jenni Hiirikoski as nine Finnish players logged at least one point in the bronze medal game.
Having lost their first three games in Beijing, Finland staged a miraculous comeback. Defeating ROC in their final preliminary round game, the Finns managed to clinch third place in Group A. Taking on a Japanese team that had never played in the quarterfinals before, Finland’s experience showed, prevailing by a 7-1 mark.
Defeating Switzerland for the bronze medal represents the fourth in the nation’s proud hockey history (1998, 2010, 2018, 2022).