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Finland takes women's world hockey bronze after 3-2 shootout win over Czechs

UTICA, N.Y. — Finland defeated Czechia 3-2 in a shootout for the bronze medal at the women's world hockey championship on Sunday.

Michelle Karvinen and Petra Nieminen scored and goaltender Sanni Ahola stopped four of five shots in the shootout.

Finland returned to the world championship podium after taking silver in 2019. They ranked sixth in 2022 and fifth in 2023.

"We've had the potential the whole time and it was a big step for us to come back," Karvinen said.

"I think some of the players we have right now, the future is really bright. So for us to take a medal at this tournament is really important if you think about the next few years."

The Czechs were bronze medallists in 2022 and 2023.

The Czechs lost 4-0 to Canada and the Finns dropped a 5-0 decision to the United States in Saturday's semifinals.

"I thought we dug deep coming off a late semifinal and a hard fought semifinal," said Czech head coach Carla MacLeod, who is a former Canadian team defender.

"It's a quick turnaround and you could see early in the game, (we) were struggling a little bit to find our feet. But as the game wore on, I thought we got more and more comfortable. So I didn't need anything more from them. I think the chances were there. We had some incredible saves. It was a back-and-forth game. I'm just incredibly proud."

Czechia will host the 2025 women's world championship in Ceske Budejovice, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced earlier Sunday.

Karvinen and Viivi Vainikka scored in regulation time for the Finns. Ahola stopped 29 shots and her Czech counterpart Klara Peslarova made 45 saves in regulation time and overtime.

Klara Hymlarova was the only Czech to beat Ahola in the shootout. Denisa Krizova and Michaela Pejzlova were Czechia's other goal scorers.

The Finns led 2-1 heading into the third period when Krizova pulled the Czechs even at 4:11.

Both sides had chances to end it in the 10-minute overtime session. Peslarova and Ahola both produced key saves to force extra shots.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2024.

The Canadian Press