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Finland to the Final after overtime victory — 04.05.2012
The second semi-final between Finland and Sweden turned out to be just as even as everyone had predicted. Two equal teams, the skilled Swedes and the Finns fighting for a place in the final against Switzerland. Alisa Pöllänen settled the match with a penalty shot during overtime, 4-3 to Finland.
The first period game picture was no real surprise, with Sweden having the ball possession, mainly moving the ball in a triangle at the mid-line seeking openings in the Finnish defence. The Swedes had read the Finnish play pretty well and tried to shoot low at every possibility given, which paid off when Tilda Flodell placed the ball just by the post giving Sweden a 1-0 lead. Finland was able to equalise on power play when Mirva Laitinen took a shot from the line and Juliette Kemppi ticked in the rebound.
Both teams continued trying to utilise the weaknesses of the opponent in the second period. Finland created a lot of traffic in front of the Swedish goalie and then tried shooting from far away. This proved to be quite efficient, since Beverly Smedenäs seemed to have real problems seeing the ball coming and Laura Manninen shot a bouncing ball from the line, taking Finland to a 2-1 lead.
Sweden slowly changed their openings and started to move the ball fast from player to player and was able to bypass the Finnish defenders more than once, with Cornelia Fjellestedt ending one of these attacks with a swift shot from the rink side surprising the Finnish goalie completely. Finland was able to take the 3-2 lead just before the intermission, when Noona Björkmanwas forgotten free in front of the goal.
Sweden was able to pressure the Finnish defence into the corners and upsetting the already tired Finnish defenders, who then started to make unforced mistakes, giving away the game control to Sweden for almost ten minutes. The Swedish domination was interrupted for a Finnish ineffective power play, after which Sweden put even more pressure on the Finns, opening for fast counter attacks. The Swedish took their time-out and with 1.37 to go playing without a goalie, Adina Augustsson scored with a fantastic shot from close to the midline to make it 3-3. Sweden created one more real situation, but the game still went into overtime.
Sweden had found the medicine to neutralise the Finnish strengths and rolled wave after wave towards the Finnish goal. Finland continued stubbornly to try to shoot from far away and frequently giving the ball for free to Sweden. Then suddenly out of the blue Alisa Pöllänen, was able to break free from the Swedish defence, earning Finland a penalty shot, when she was poorly tackled right in front of the Swedish goal. After some convincing from the coach, she executed the shot excellently, by lifting the ball on the backhand in the top corner taking Finland to the final against Switzerland, leaving Sweden out from the final for the first time in the U19 WFC.
Alisa Pöllänen was in a tough situation taking the penalty shot in overtime, but she has practiced these situations before. Finland will now meet Switzerland in tomorrow´s Final.
Alisa Pöllänen was in a tough situation taking the penalty shot in overtime, but she has practiced these situations before.
Finland will now meet Switzerland in tomorrow´s Final.