Sweden won the first game in the Finland-Sweden Challenge by defeating Finland with 2-3. In the early stages of the match, Finland was the dominant team but couldn’t take advantage of it. This allowed Sweden to get back into the game and win the first of four meetings between the countries.
In the first period, the two teams had to adjust to each other. It resulted in a very chaotic period with counters back and forth but it was Sweden that seemed to need a wake-up call. The Finns opened the score when Pixbo’s Laura Manninen found the goal when she was given enough space to walk up and take a shot from afar. For the next minutes, it kept raining chances at both sides and it was almost a miracle Finland couldn’t score the second goal. Instead, it were the Swedes to score the equalizer just seconds before the break when Moa Tschop found Sara Steen with a great pass, entirely free from the defenders.
When the players returned from the break, it were the Finns again to put pressure on the Swedes. They opened with a quick goal. After that, they played a bit more passively allowing Sweden some ball possession and waiting for the counter in the meanwhile. This worked well. Finland defended well and the Swedes were unable to turn their ball possession into goals. But again, it was the Swedes who equalized and gave a hard time to the Finnish women.
The deciding 2-3 goal came with less than 8 minutes to play. Pixbo Wallenstam’s defender Stephanie Boberg hit the net, assisted by Emelie Wibron. The Finns were chasing an equalizer but couldn’t find one, despite getting 2 minutes of powerplay 54:19 when Moa Tschöp was sent off on a 2-min penalty. 1-0 in games for the Swedes, who’ll return back to their country with a good advantage, not only mentally, but also since they’ll gave the home crowd on their side as well.
Want to read more about the Finland-Sweden Challenge and the point system? Read here!