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Finland first semifinalist after thriller against Slovakia

Finland is the first semifinalist after a thrilling victory over Slovakia. The Slovaks stole the hearts of the crowd, but couldn’t monetize their chances well enough: 8-6.

First period

Slovakia had a fantastic start: Viktoria Grossova scored in the first minute, and seconds later, Paulina Hudakova – who already scored 5+8 points this tournament – doubled the Slovakian lead! Finland recovered within minutes and once again, it was one of the Kauppi sisters who took her team by the hand. Oona Kauppi scored both the 1-2 and the equalizing 2-2, all before the clock got even past 3-minutes.

Finland continued its goal-scoring streak and even extended it to five goals in a row, as after Oona’s equalizer, My Kippilä, Oona Kauppi (again), and Sara Piispa found the net: 5-2. In between, Alisa Pollanen even missed a penalty shot for Finland.

Second period

Slovakia used the perfect opportunity to move closer to Finland again through a utilized penalty shot from Paulina Hudakova: 5-3. Sara Piispa increased the gap to three again one minute later, but in the final minute of the second period, Hudakova completed her hat-trick and put Finland into trouble again: 6-4.

Goalkeeper out

The troubles became worse when, at 42:00, Michaela Sponiarova scored her sixth goal of the WFC 2019 and put the score at 6-5. However, who else than Oona Kauppi helped Finland to the semifinal. She scored 7-5 at 49:18 and when Slovakia took out its goalkeeper as a last try, she scored 8-5 with an empty-net goal. In the very last second, Slovakia managed to score 8-6, but it didn’t matter anymore.

Semifinal

MVP’s of the game were Paulina Hudakova (4+1) and Oona Kauppi (5+0). Finland moves up to the semifinal, in which the team faces the winner of the quarterfinal between Sweden and Germany. Slovakia will continue the tournament fighting for 5-8th place, starting with a match against the loser of that same battle between Sweden – Germany.

Paulina Hudakova scored 4+1 points, but it wasn’t enough (Photo: Fabrice De Gasperis/www.mediafab.ch)
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