World Championship bronze for Team Finland
Team Finland defeated Team Canada 19-17 in a game that went down to the wire. In a game full of lead changes and momentum changing plays, both teams were able to feel confident as the game came down to the last few minutes to determine the winner.
Team Finland took control of the game immediately, starting with an interception by defensive back Oona Tuomi on Team Canada’s opening drive. Team Finland used that momentum to spend the next 5 minutes & 56 seconds driving 46 yards to Team Canada’s 7 yard line. On fourth down, Laura Pulkkinen was set to attempt a 24 yard field goal, but a high snap over her head ended Team Finland’s drive with an incomplete pass. Team Finland committed turnovers in the following two possessions, courtesy of Team Canada players Haley Girolami & Emmarae Dale.
Team Canada was able to rebound from a bad start, by putting together a 53 yard scoring drive at the end of the first quarter. Quarterback Maude Lacasse connected with Chevrier Annabelle for 13 yards on the drive, then found receiver Virginie Rossel for a 16 yard catch to put Team Canada on the 1 yard line. From there running back Sarah Wright ran in a 1-yard score for the first points of the game. Kristie Eliott made the extra point attempt, making the score CANADA – 7, FINLAND – 0.
Team Canada was able to get on the board a second time, following their second interception giving them the ball on Team Finland’s 45 yard line. Receiver Virginie Rossel made a couple of key catches to move Team Canada to Team Finland’s 7 yard line. On fourth down, Kristie Eliott made a 24 yard field goal making the score CANADA – 10, FINLAND – 0.
On the legs of running back Tytti Kuusinen, Team Finland was able to drive over 50 yards to set up a field goal attempt. A good snap and hold gave Laura Pulkkinen time to make the 26 yard field goal, making the score CANADA – 10, FINLAND – 3 at halftime.
Team Finland took over the game in the third quarter. Running back Tytti Kuusinen led the way on a 3 minute drive that put Team Finland inside the red zone. Quarterback Emilia Räty connected with receiver Essi Söderholm on an 11 yard pass to put the ball on the 1 yard line. Räty took care of the rest, scoring Team Finland’s first touchdown of the game. Laura Pulkkinen made the extra point, making the score CANADA – 10, FINLAND – 10. Team Finland’s next possession was sparked by a 35 yard run from running back Mari Jääskelä, putting their offense inside the red zone. Running back Tytti Kuusinen rumbled for 12 yards to put her team on the 1 yard line. Once again Quarterback Emilia Räty finished the job, scoring on a 1 yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt was unsuccessful, making the score CANADA – 10, FINLAND – 16.
Team Canada used a heavy passing attack to move the ball in the fourth quarter. Receiver Ricki Obed became quarterback Maude Lacasse’s favorite target. On 3rd & goal, the pair connected for the tying score of the game. Kristie Eliott made the extra point, making the score CANADA – 17, FINLAND – 16 with less than 6 mins remaining in the game.
Team Finland started their final drive at midfield. From there Team Canada’s defense received a heavy dose of running back Mari Jääskelä. After using almost 4 minutes of time, Laura Pulkkinen finished Team Finland’s drive with a 26 yard field goal, making the score CANADA – 17, FINLAND – 19. With only 1:11 remaining in the game, Team Canada was unable to score as time ran out to end the game.
Most Valuable Players
- CANADA – Quarterback Maude Lacasse
- FINLAND – Running Back/ Kicker Laura Pulkkinen
- (Can) QB, Maude Lacasse – 17/30, 164 yds, 1 td
- (Can) Virginie Roussel – 4 rec, 43 yds
- (Can) Ricki Obed – 3 rec, 45 yds, 1 td
- (Fin) RB, Tytti Kuusinen – 19 rush, 121 yds, 1 td
- (Fin) RB, Mari Jääskelä – 12 rush, 84 yds
- (Can) Emmarae Dale – 7 tkls, 1 tfl, 1 int
- (Can) Alexandra Ondo – 5 tkls
- (Can) Haley Girolami – 2 tkls, 1 pbu, 1 int
- (Fin) LB, Essi Saastamoinen – 7.5 tkls
- (Fin) DB, Oona Tuomi – 6 tkls, 1 pbu, 1 int