Noora Raty, the former Gophers star goaltender and two-time national champion, is one win from leading Finland to the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship game.
Raty and the Finns will attempt to upset Canada for a second time when they meet in Thursday's semifinals at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Finland defeated Canada, 4-3, for the first time ever at the World Championships in Saturday’s preliminary-round game.
Finland advanced to the semifinals with a 4-0 shutout victory over Sweden on Tuesday. Raty had 16 saves, but said “My teammates earned the shutout for me.”
Raty has a 2.26 goals-against average and .917 save percentage through four tournament games. She also made a lot of noise with comments after an emotional loss to Russia in the preliminary round.
Russia scored a last-minute power play goal to claim the 2-1 victory, but Raty said the goal never should have happened. She berated the rink's playing conditions and the break pins used to hold the nets in place.
“We can’t push off the post since they come off so easily,” Raty told Sports Illustrated. “This would never happen on the men’s side, it should never happen here. The nets are absolutely awful. That’s why they scored the second goal because I could not push off of the post because the nets come off.
“I tried to push off the post, the net is off and I’m just stuck there. I weigh about 150 pounds. It should not be doing that with my weight. It’s absolutely a joke. It can’t happen at this level.”
Raty didn’t hold back in her interview, calling the incident an “absolute joke" and blaming tournament organizers. An investigation revealed the secondary rink used break pins to hold the nets, while the main rink used Marsh (rubber) pegs. Raty and other players said break pins are not typically used at such a high level of play.
“It ruins my day when I have to deal with nets like that,” Raty said. “That should not be happening at this level. I’m 100 percent sure that last goal would not have happened if we had real nets. But that’s life.”
Raty led Finland to gold at the 2017 Nations Cup with a 1-0 shutout against Canada in January. She is two wins away from earning her second gold medal this year.
The winner of Canada and Finland plays the winner of the USA and Germany.
The USA, featuring five Minnesotans and former Gophers star Amanda Kessel, beat Raty and Finland 5-3 in the preliminary round.