Vaillancourt sparks Canadian women to 4-2 win over Finland at Four Nations Cup

The Canadian women’s hockey team prepared for this. In their third road game in four nights, Canada doubled host Finland 4-2 at the Four Nations Cup hockey tournament in Kerava.

Finland's Michelle Karvinen gets squeezed by team Canada goalie Shannon Szabados and Delaney Collins during a women's hockey game in Finland on Wednesday. Canada won 4-2.

Canada 4 Finland 2

KERAVA, Finland — The Canadian women’s hockey team prepared for this.

In their third road game in four nights, Canada doubled host Finland 4-2 at the Four Nations Cup hockey tournament in Kerava.

Fatigue wasn’t a factor, said Sarah Vaillancourt of Sherbrooke, Que., because Canada has played three road games in three nights before in the Alberta Midget Hockey League.

“This year is all about travelling and being ready to play wherever we are,” said Vaillancourt, who scored twice for Canada. “That’s why we have such a heavy schedule this year with the midget triple-A boys and I think it has prepared us really well. We’re not exhausted. We could use a day off, but if we had another game, I’m sure we could push through.”

Meghan Agosta of Ruthven, Ont., and Jayna Hefford of Kingston, Ont., also scored for the Canadians, who improved to 2-0 in their final international tournament before the 2010 Olympics open Feb. 12 in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

Hayley Wickenheiser of Shaunavon, Sask., contributed a pair of assists and goaltender Shannon Szabados of Edmonton made 15 saves for the win.

Canada beat Sweden 4-2 in an exhibition game in Stockholm on Sunday before shutting them out 4-0 to open the tournament Tuesday.

Karoliina Rantamaki and Saara Tuominen replied for the Finns and goaltender Noora Raty stopped 37 of 41 shots.

The U.S. edged Sweden 3-2 in Vierumaki and is also 2-0. American captain Natalie Darwitz scored a pair of goals and her team outshot the Swedes 52-18. Swedish goaltender Kim Martin held her team in the game with 49 saves.

Canada, winner of the last two Olympic gold medals, and the Americans, the defending world champions, meet Friday in Vierumaki in a preview of Saturday’s championship game.

Canada has won two exhibition games in a row against the U.S., but was 2-6 in their previous eight games versus their archrival.

“It’s one step closer to the Olympics every time,” Vaillancourt said of playing the Americans. “The games we’ve won against them are definitely confidence-boosters, but at the same time, we know every game is going to be different, the referees are going to be different, we’re overseas.

“We don’t know how everything is going to work out so we just have to be ready for whatever.”

Twenty-six players are trying out for 21 jobs on Canada’s Olympic roster. Head coach Melody Davidson has not yet said when she’ll name her team.

The Canadian women will play over 60 games before the Olympics and over half will be against midget triple-A teams of male players between the ages of 15 and 18.

“We’re playing pretty well,” Davidson said. “We just need to get some rest and get more mentally sharp, which comes with a little bit of rest. That’s the beauty of the midget games. We’ve done it before.”

She’s giving her players a day off from the ice Thursday.

Finland has never beaten Canada, but in their first game under new coach Pekka Hamalainen, they upset the U.S. 3-2 to open the Hockey Canada Cup in September.

“With their new coach, they’ve put in more of an aggressive system all over the ice,” Davidson said. “Their goaltender played well and a typical European team, they plug up the middle so well.

“We had to fight like cats and dogs to get each goal we got, but I was happy overall with our offence. We created lots of chances and they had to play well for us not to score a lot.”

Canada fell behind 2-1 in the opening minute of the second period before Agosta and Hefford scored power-play goals to take a lead into the third period.

“We let in two goals and that was a lot to let in against them, but I still think overall we played really well,” Vaillancourt said. “We had the confidence we were going to get back even though we were losing 2-1.”

Just Posted

Ride to Conquer Cancer cancels but Red Deerian keeps going

Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer was cancelled due to smoke

Record-breaking year in Red Deer for smoke

Expect more smoke in Red Deer Wednesday

Mustard Seed prepares people for workforce

Employment Readiness Fair to be held August 28

Update: Bomb squad investigates, destroys suspicious package in Red Deer

North police station was closed as they investigated Tuesday afternoon

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending programs

OTTAWA — The minister in charge of Canada’s latest national plan to… Continue reading

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month