It went from bad to worse for the U.S. women’s hockey team Friday night.
The reigning World champion lost to Finland 3-1 at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Finnish goalie Noora Raty, who helped Minnesota to a perfect 41-win season and an NCAA title in March, stopped 58 U.S. shots. Finland took 16 shots on U.S. No. 1 Jessie Vetter.
“I thought our team played great,” said U.S. coach Katey Stone, according to USA Hockey. “Obviously we’re pretty disappointed with the result, but their goaltender stood on her head. The kids stayed together and there wasn’t any quit on our bench. That’s the best I’ve seen us play, despite the result.”
Karolina Rantamaki and Susanna Tapani scored in a 9-second span in the second period for Finland. Megan Bozek scored a power-play goal to cut it to 2-1, but Jenni Hiirikoski tacked on the third in the final period.
Finland will play Canada in the championship game Saturday night. The U.S., which had finished first or second in every Four Nations Cup appearance dating to its debut in 1996, will play Sweden in the third-place game.
The U.S., which is 0-3 against Canada this fall, lost to a nation other than Canada in IIHF competition for the first time in five years. The last defeat was also to Finland, 1-0 in overtime at the 2008 World Championships.
It’s the first time the U.S. has lost to a nation other than Canada in regulation in an Olympics, World Championships or Four Nations Cup, spanning 161 games.
“We’ll just lick our wounds a little bit here until midnight,” Stone said. “When we wake up tomorrow morning, it’s onto the next one.”
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