With Hungary still being relatively new to the Top Division of the Women’s Worlds, Saturday’s first game of the day was another never before seen match-up. Hungary had a short bench, playing for the second game in a row without forwards Hayley Williams and Emma Kreisz and for the first time without defender Franziska Kiss-Simon, all out with injuries.
Hungarian goalie Aniko Nemeth was busy early, as Finland got set up and comfortable in the offensive zone. The Finns crowded the net to open scoring at 6:55 into the first with a goal from Tapani. While an initial shot from Krista Parkkonen couldn’t make it through the heavy net-front traffic, Petra Nieminen jumped on the puck and sent it towards Tapani and Michelle Karvinen, who were both stationed at the top of the crease. Tapani roofed the puck into the net to score her third of the tournament.
"That’s been our thing for the whole tournament, that we need to have at least one player in front of the net," said Tapani. "Now we have two, and that puck came right to me. It was an empty net so it was pretty easy to put it in."
"Let's do what we can. We know how to play," Finnish head coach Juuso Tolvola said of what the message was the team heading into this game. "We have the skill and everything. Let's concentrate on what we can do and keep calm."
"She's been doing really great lately, last few years," said Tolvola. "I'm so happy to see her getting goals and passes and a really big heart for the game. She fights really hard."
Determined not to see a repeat of their 12-1 quarter-final loss against the United States, 16-year-old Regina Metzler cut Finland’s lead in half just a few minutes later. Metzler – who had scored Hungary’s sole goal against the U.S.—snuck behind Finland’s defence, receiving a pass from Alexandra Huszak and scoring on Anni Keisala.
"I was very excited before this game and I was very happy after I scored," said Metzler, who leaves for Canada in a few days to play with the Ontario Hockey Academy. "I'm the youngest on the roster, so I'm happy to help the team. Not the normal lines played today with the change on the lines, but we could find the tempo and go and go and keep going."
After a collision at centre ice between Huszak and Viivi Vainikka, Finland took two penalties, an elbowing call on Ronja Savolainen and a cross-checking call on Jenni Hiirikoski, giving Hungary a 5-on-3 power play. Finland killed the penalty, but the Hungarians kept pushing.
Skating backwards through the neutral zone, Petra Szamosfalvi intercepted a pass up ice from Hiirikoski and sent the puck to Huszak, who skated into Finland’s zone and took a slap shot that bounced awkwardly off Keisala and into the net. Tied at 2-2, Finland rallied hard to try to regain their lead, but the score stayed even heading into the third period.
Nemeth was the hero for Hungary in the final 20 minutes of regulation time, making outstanding saves on the Finns. Neither team was able to score in the third period, but Holopainen collected her fourth goal of the tournament 1:26 into overtime to secure the win for Finland.
"We turned the game really fast in their zone and I think we had three players going to the net," said Tapani, who assisted on Holopainen's goal. "I got a really good pass in the middle and then just tried to manage the puck first. I knew that [Holopainen] was coming with me and I’m really glad that she put it in, it was a really big goal for us."
Finland will now play the winner of the Sweden-Japan game on Sunday morning to determine who will finish fifth.