HELSINKI — Mélodie Daoust scored the winning goal as Canada downed host Finland 4-2 in women's hockey Thursday.

Victoria Bach, Marie-Philip Poulin and Jocelyne Larocque also scored for Canada, while Rebecca Johnston had two assists.

Petra Nieminen and Elisa Hopolainen scored for Finland in front of 2,041 in Helsinki's Hartwall Arena.

Emerance Maschmeyer stopped 19 shots for Canada, while a busy Meeri Räisänen made 40 saves for Finland.

The two teams meet again Saturday and Sunday in Turku.

Canada's three-game series in Finland is part of its preparation for February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, and also the national team's first games outside North America since the 2019 world championship in Espoo, Finland.

Twenty-nine women have been centralized in Calgary since July. Canada's 23-player Olympic roster is expected to be announced in late December.

Canada led 1-0 and 2-1 at period breaks and outshot the Finns 44-19 on Thursday.

“It was a sloppy first period, just trying to get our legs under us, I think," Canadian head coach Troy Ryan said in a Hockey Canada statement.

"It was good, they stuck with it and found a way to get some offence going in the second period. The third period was a little bit shaky, a lot of time with their goalie pulled and we needed to find a way to put (the puck in the net), but didn’t."

Canada's penalty killers held Finland scoreless on six chances with a man advantage.

“A lot of times I don’t mind us taking a few penalties because a lot of times they are physical penalties. Tonight, I didn’t necessarily like them — a lot of reaching, a lot of stick calls, but the penalty kill did a good job being aggressive and I thought later in the game, we started to make plays off our kill, so that was good to see,” Ryan added.

Forward Blayre Turnbull played her first game since injuring her knee during Canada's celebration of the world women's hockey championship Aug. 31.

After Poulin scored the overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the United States in the final, the 28-year-old from Stellarton, N.S. fell under her teammates' celebration pile and had to celebrate the victory from a stretcher.

“I think anyone who has gone through an injury or missed time from the game, you can relate to how difficult it is not being able to play," said Turnbull, who assisted on Daoust's goal.

"I’m really lucky and thankful to have such a great support system from the medical staff who have helped me, our coaches, my family and friends and of course my teammates who have all made the last two months bearable and made tonight fun for me.”

Daoust of Valleyfield, Que., was Canada's points leader in the world championship with six goals and six assists in seven games. The 29-year-old was named MVP of the tournament.

She scored the game-winner at 17:45 of the second period on a wraparound goal that went in off a Finnish defender's skates.

Canada fell 3-2 in a shootout to the United States in the gold-medal game of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Finns took the bronze medal.

After returning from Finland, the Canadian women resume a Rivalry Series with the U.S. on Nov. 21 in Kingston, Ont.

Canada won the first two of nine games by scores of 3-1 and 3-2.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2021.