Finland squeezes by China 2-1 in women’s hockey

China’s Yao Shi made 41 saves in a losing effort as China was edged 2-1 by Finland  in women’s Olympic hockey on Tuesday night.

Shi saw 43 shots come her way and made a number of spectacular saves including many right in front of her goal, as well as a few diving stops.

Venla Heikkila scored the game-winning goal 14 minutes into the second period on a breakaway, beating three Chinese players down the ice and tucking the puck between the legs of the goaltender while falling down.

Karoliina Rantamaki had opened the scoring for Finland at 9:13 of the middle frame on a power play. The forward was able to beat Shi off a rebound that the Chinese backstop  gave up after a wraparound move.

Heidi Pelltari and Rosa Lindstedt were credited with assists on the play.

China had actually opened the scoring just before the end of the first 20 minutes when Linuo Wang potted  a short-handed opportunity by beating Finnish keeper Noora Räty with a snap shot from the left circle.

Räty made four saves on the five shots she saw over the whole game.

China took a lot of penalties, putting Finland on the power play nine times, as opposed to the four chances that they received with the man-advantage.

Finland was only able to capitalize once, however, due in large part to Shi,  and a Chinese penalty kill unit that has now neutralized almost 30 minutes of penalties in the first two games.

This was the first meeting between these two teams in international competition since 2005 and it improves Finland’s record to 8-0 against China lifetime in women’s hockey.

The Finns (2-0) next play the powerhouse United States on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. PT. 

China (0-2) will also be in action on Thursday, as they try to capture their first tournament win, against Russia at 7 p.m.

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