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Finland survive and Switzerland win easily – 03.05.2012
Finland were lucky to escape with a win against Poland and have secured the top spot in Group B, but it was the Polish who impressed in this game. Senni Hietanen scored the decisive game winning goal.
At the beginning of the game it was all Finland, but the Poles were the ones who scored first with a shot by Sandra Bartkowska from a messy situation in front of the Finnish goal. The Finns did not take long to reply, when Juulia Lintula scored from a well-worked free hit.
Even though Finland had equalised the match, the Polish were much more confident of their play and the game became very even. Their defence worked very hard throughout the game, blocking shots and getting their stick to every ball that landed in front of their goal. The Polish goalkeeper, Justyna Trebacz, was outstanding, saving everything that came towards her and her defenders were clearing away all possible rebounds.
Poland had several chances in the first part of the second period. They were awarded a penalty shot which was well-saved by Arla Salo, and were unable to score from the powerplay, spending most of their time trying to get the ball back from the Finns. Salo made another important save when Poland had a breakaway situation and in the 1v1 she came away with the ball. When Justyna Krzywak intercepted a flat pass between the Finnish defenders she was able to get past Salo, but her back-stick shot from a tight angle narrowly missed the goal, to the relief of the Finns. Finland tried hard to pressure Poland but the Poles stood up to the Finns, playing very physically and continuing to be first to all the loose balls.
The third period began with a Finnish powerplay at the 5 minute mark, but again it was Trebacz who was spectacular, making what might have been the save of the tournament so far. With the Finns pressing their player advantage, they passed the ball from one side of the court to the other, a direct shot was made and Trebacz made a flying full body-stretch save to deny the Finns again.
The tension was building as you could feel that somebody was going to score, but who would it be? It took a mistake from the Polish at 10:19, when they made a line change in their own defensive area, Finland took the corner hit quickly and from the ensuing scramble in front of the goal, Senni Hietanen was able to squeeze the ball in from near the post.
With the score at 2-1 to Finland, the message to the Polish players was clearly to shoot at every opportunity. They tried right up to the final whistle to get the goal back but the Finns held on - just. Poland will be very disappointed that they couldn´t get even just one point from this match and the Finns will need to hope that this was just a little bump in the road on their way to the gold medal that they are aiming for. Sweden is now (if winning against Slovakia) the most probable opponent for Finland in the semi-finals, so what are the different strengths of the two teams, Finland and Sweden?
Sweden is now (if winning against Slovakia) the most probable opponent for Finland in the semi-finals, so what are the different strengths of the two teams, Finland and Sweden?
Switzerland v Hungary
Team Switzerland had a good day at the office defeating Hungary 13-1 in their last group match.
The Swiss team got a dream start to the match against Hungary scoring their first goal already after 21 seconds, the goal scored by Nicole Huber.
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