Month: April 2019 (Page 3 of 4)

2019 Worlds: Day 6 Recap


Group A

United States beat Russia, 10-0


  • United States – Amanda Kessel, Cayla Barnes, Kendall Coyne Schofield (2), Megan Bozek, Lee Stecklein (2), Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, Jessie Compher
  • Russia – n/a

After a tough-fought 5-1 loss against Canada yesterday, the exhausted Russian team was no match for Team USA’s firepower. Eight different goalscorers put Team USA into the double digits, and two players—Lee Stecklein and Jesse Compher—got their first goals with the national team. Although Russia was able to generate some offense, ultimately they were unable to get enough shots on Alex Rigsby to beat her, and she recorded a 12-save shutout.

Canada beat Finland, 6 – 1


  • Finland – Ella Viitasuo
  • Canada – Loren Gabel (2), Rebecca Johnston, Brianne Jenner, Sarah Nurse, Erin Ambrose

The game had the makings of a goaltender battle — Noora Raty v Shannon Szabados. But then the Canadians chased Noora Raty out of her net after she gave up three goals. Eveliina Suonpaa couldn’t stop the scoring either as she was tagged for another three goals. On the other end of the ice, Shannon Szabados made 22 saves.

Group B

Japan beat Sweden, 3 – 2


  • Japan – Haruna Yoneyama, Akane Shiga, Ayaka Toko
  • Sweden – Emma Nordin, Sofia Engstrom

What a stunner. In a battle to stay in the tournament – and the top tier – presumable underdog Japan prevailed.

Penalties hurt the Swedes as the clock ticked down as both the game tying and the game winning goal were scored while the Japanese had the player advantage. The teams entered the third period tied before Sweden took the lead. Japan responded four minutes later tying the game and took the lead seven minutes later. That would be all she wrote as Sweden couldn’t make a last minute stand.

This marks the first time Sweden was relegated out of the top tier.

Czech Republic beat Germany, 2 – 0


  • Czech Republic – Alena Mills (2)
  • Germany – n/a

Prolific Slovenia grabs gold

In one of the best years in recent history for the Slovenian women’s national team it earns promotion to the Division I Group B after winning the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group A in Dumfries

By Andy Potts –

Slovenia powered to the summit the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group A on the back of a devastating performance from its free-scoring first line.

The combination of captain Pia Pren, Sara Confidenti and Julija Blazinsek delivered 47 points in five games to set the team atop its group in Dumfries. Pren, 27, led the way with 20 (6+14) as she dominated the scoring for the tournament. Confidenti (7+7) and Blazinsek (7+6) were the key beneficiaries of those 14 helpers.

It added up to scoring power that no other nation could rival. While Slovenia hit 24 goals in its five games, the next best tally came from Mexico, trailing some way behind on 14 goals. The Slovenes also recorded the two biggest wins in the competition: 7-1 against Mexico and 6-1 against Australia.

However, there were some anxious moments for Slovenia, despite that impressive offence. The opening game against newly-promoted Spain ended in a shoot-out loss. North Korea, complete with several players who featured on the cross-border Korean team at the Winter Olympics last year, also put up a fight before losing out in a shoot-out. But, in a fiercely competitive tournament, nobody could produce consistent results. Slovenia began the final day’s play against Mexico knowing that victory would guarantee gold regardless of other results.

It wasn’t quite plain sailing: the Mexicans, always an awkward opponent in this championship, took an early lead through Joanna Rojas. The assist came from Claudia Tellez, a 2016 draft pick for the Calgary Inferno in the CWHL. That was a big lift for Mexico, which had its own hopes of top spot, and drew a cheer from the GB fans who came to watch the early game. A Slovenia loss would have given the host nation a shot at promotion if it could beat DPR Korea in the last action of the tournament.

But Slovenia was not about to slip at the last. Four goals in the closing minutes of the opening frame – Pren scored two and assisted on the others – turned the game, and the tournament, decisively.

Slovenia’s success follows the decision to move Olimpija Ljubljana, the country’s leading women’s team, to the cross border Elite Women’s Hockey League. Although the team found life tough in a competition that features rivals from Austria, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Italy, the experience of competing at a higher level provided a big boost for many of the team. Nine of Franc Ferjanic’s roster came from directly from Olimpija, while others, including Blazinsek, spent some time on that team over the course of the season.

For Pren, hockey at that level was nothing new. Before Olimpija joined the EWHL, she played several seasons with Sabres Wein and the Southern Stars, and also had a year in Sweden with Linkoping. But now she’s hoping that more girls from Slovenia will get the chance to pursue the game. Prior to this month’s tournament she gave an interview to Telekom Slovenje’s SIOL website. While acknowledging that a national championship that involves just three clubs makes it difficult for potential players to find a place to play, she was also upbeat about the progress that could be made in future.

“For starters, I want to see women enjoy the same conditions as male players in Slovenia, so that in future generations we can have the same opportunities to practice,” she said. “This would be real progress and it will come in the future. It might come in small steps and I understand that it will happen after the end of my playing career but I believe we will make progress.”

Slovenia wasn’t the only nation celebrating progress. Spain, making its first appearance, followed up last year’s promotion with a bronze medal. A 3-2 victory over Australia on the final day took Spain to nine points, with its other successes coming in that shoot-out win over Slovenia, a 2-0 regulation triumph against Mexico and a shoot-out loss to the North Koreans.

Great Britain, the host nation, took silver for the second year running. A 2-1 victory over the Koreans on Tuesday left Cheryl Smith’s team one point behind Slovenia and ruing a 2-4 loss against the eventual champion earlier in the week. DPR Korea took fifth place. At the foot of the table, Australia failed to win a game and was relegated to Division IIB after three seasons at this level.

2019 Worlds: Day 5 Recap


Group A

Finland beat Switzerland; 6-2


  • Switzerland – Evelina Raselli, Alina Muller
  • Finland – Susanna Tapani, Rosa Lindstedt, Linda Valimaki, Michelle Karvinen (2), Minnamari Tuominen

At the beginning it looked as if the Swiss were going to give the Finns a run. Switzerland opened the scoring and phenom Alina Muller tied the game in the second period, but Finland broke out after that scoring four unanswered goals. Switzerland didn’t win a single game in preliminaries but will move on to the quarterfinals as all five Group A teams advance.

Canada beat Russia, 5-1


  • Canada – Natalie Spooner (3), Rebecca Johnston, Blayre Turnbull
  • Russia – Liana Ganeyeva

It was the Natalie Spooner show as she tallied her 50th-52nd goals for Team Canada as well as a primary assist to give Canada a safe lead early in the game. Russia pulled goaltender Anna Prugova after three goals in favor of Morozova who let in two. Russia struggled taking four early penalties, and getting no shots on goal the entire second period.

Despite losing Marie Philip-Poulin early to injury, who made her first appearance in this Worlds tournament this game for Canada, Russia could not pull it together to score more than one late power play goal by Liana Ganeyeva. Shots on goal ended 45-8 for Canada. Spooner was given player of the game along with Russia’s Anna Shibanova.

Group B

Czech Republic beat Japan, 3 – 1


  • Czech Republic – Denisa Krizova, Vendula Pribylova, Tereza Vanisova
  • Japan – Hanae Kubo

The Czech Republic continued their roll in Group B, winning their third straight game and securing their spot in the quarterfinals.

France beat Germany, 3 – 2 in overtime


  • France – Lara Escudero, Estelle Duvin, Chloe Aurard (ot)
  • Germnay – Nicola Eisenschmid, Kerstin Spielberger

It took an extra 1:44 of hockey for France to win their first game in the top tier but Chloe Aurard scored, unassisted, to secure the win in their final preliminary game. They’ll face either Sweden or Japan for the 9th place game.

Gold for Chinese Taipei

The Chinese Taipei players celebrate a goal in the deciding game against Iceland for tournament win at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B

By Andy Potts –

Chinese Taipei enjoyed a perfect week in Romania as it won the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B. After posting five victories from five games, the team secured its second promotion in three seasons of IIHF competition, improving on last season’s silver medals at this level when it finished behind Spain in Valdemoro.

The race went down to the final day, although Chinese Taipei held the upper hand going into the tournament’s decisive game against Iceland. The Icelanders had lost game two of their campaign against New Zealand and knew that only a win in regulation would be enough to pip Chinese Taipei by virtue of a better head-to-head record. New Zealand was also in the mix, and its 5-1 victory against Croatia in Sunday’s opening game would set up a three-way tie on 12 points if Iceland could beat the impressive Taipei roster.

The ladies from the North Atlantic gave it a good go: this game was alive until the final 10 minutes, when Hui-Chen Yeh and Sing-Lin Tao scored twice in 13 seconds to turn a precarious 3-2 scoreline into a commanding 5-2 advantage that endured until the hooter. First Yeh stole the puck in the Iceland zone and advanced to make it 4-2, then the next attacking face-off for Chinese Taipei saw Yang-Chi Lin launch a point shot that Tao redirected past Karitas Halldorsdottir. The game, and the tournament, was won.

So what made the difference for Taipei after it came close 12 months earlier? With many players returning for Romania, the big change was a question of style. In Spain, goals flew in at either end; in Brasov, the defence tightened up. The team allowed just eight goals in the whole event – half the number from a year ago. Tzu-Ting Tsu saw her GAA drop from 2.98 to a miserly 0.72, giving up just two goals in the three games where she featured. Understudy Yun-Tzu Wang was also trusted with more minutes and produced improved numbers in this event. That all meant that a slight drop in productivity from the team’s scoring leaders, Hui-Chen Yeh and Ting-Yu Tsu was not a big problem; this was very much a case where a defence won a championship.

Iceland’s loss saw it drop to third place behind New Zealand. Second place for the Silver Fernz represents the country’s best-ever finish in IIHF World Championship play. Previously NZ’s best was a third place in Division IIB in 2017. For Iceland, it’s now three bronze medals in four seasons at this level.

Even after the top places were confirmed, there was still drama to come. The final game saw host nation Romania face Turkey needing a two-goal victory to secure its survival. A win in regulation would set up a three-way tie between those two nations and Croatia, each with three points. A two-goal swing for Romania would doom Croatia, while Turkey could still be demoted if it lost by five or more.

The Turks made a fine start, jumping to a 3-1 first-period lead with Cagla Baktiroglu banking two goals and an assist. But Romania rallied, tying the game in the second period and going in front when Ana Voicu potted her second of the night in the 48th minute. Suddenly, the home team could see a way of escaping the last place in the table but a Dilara Lokbas goal two minutes later tied the game at 4-4. Tied at 60 minutes, Romania could no longer catch its nearest rivals. Despite claiming a winner in overtime through Timea Csiszer, the Romanians will be in the Division II Group B Qualification next season.

2019 Worlds: Day 4 Recap

Pernilla Winberg scored the game-winning goal against France on Sunday in round-robin play


Group A

USA beats Switzerland, 8-0


  • United States – Alex Carpenter, Dani Cameranesi (2), Megan Keller (2), Amanda Kessel (2), Hilary Knight
  • Switzerland – n/a

Team USA cruised to a victory against the Swiss to stay in control of Group A heading into their final game of preliminary round play. Phoebe Stänz was named the Player of the Game for Switzerland, and Keller for the United States. Janine Alder remained in net all game for the Swiss and made 41 saves, despite the onslaught of goals from the American attack.

Group B

Sweden beats France, 2-1


  • Sweden – Melinda Olsson, Pernilla Winberg
  • France – Lara Escudero

Sweden desperately needed a win in this one to avoid relegation, and they got one in a nail-biter against the French. Escudero actually opened the scoring in the first, France’s best period of the game; they put up 10 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes and 10 for the rest of the game. Sweden came storming back in the second, netting two goals to gain a 2-1 lead and outshooting the French, 15-4. Caroline Baldin turned in another great performance for Team France, stopping 38 shots to keep it a one-goal game.

Emirates win on home ice

Scoring chance for Emirati forward Saeed Al Nuaimi against Hong Kong goaltender Ching Ho Cheung

By Martin Merk –

The United Arab Emirates won the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III Qualification on home ice in Abu Dhabi and will be promoted to next year’s Division III tournament.

During four days it was a neck-and-neck race between the hosts and newcomer Kyrgyzstan, who both had four wins in four games. Players who originally learned their hockey in Russia and Kazakhstan such as Vladimir Nosov, Mikhail Chuvalov, Vladimir Tonkikh and Alexander Titov dominated the scoring race in the Kyrgyz colours, however, due to eligibility issues with foreign-born players occurring, their first four games were forfeited and the tournament win was out of sight.

The scoring leader was still a player born in Russia though. Artur Zainutdinov, who grew up in Tatarstan, has been playing in the Emirates Hockey League for the Al Ain Theebs since 2016 and gave his debut for the national team with 13 goals and 18 points in five games followed by UAE veteran Juma Al Dhaheri with 6 goals and 14 points.

The Emirates started with an 11-1 victory over Hong Kong, beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 10-3 before winning a Gulf clash against Kuwait 13-1. Then they beat the other newcomer Thailand 8-2 before facing Kyrgyzstan on Saturday evening.

The last game against Kyrgyzstan was a neck-and-neck race as well. The Kyrgyz went up three times but the Emirates always found the answer to tie the game at three after two periods. 22 seconds into the last frame Zainutdinov gave the UAE its first lead in the game but four unanswered goals made it a 7-4 win for Kyrgyzstan. It was their only win in the standings due to the forfeited games while the Emirates won the tournament ahead of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kongers recovered from the tough loss against the hosts on the opening day and beat Kuwait (12-2), Thailand (6-5) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (7-0) while getting three points against Kyrgyzstan. In the deciding game for second place against Thailand the Hong Kongers rallied back from a 4-0 deficit after 21 minutes. They tied the game at five with 2:37 left in regulation time with a goal from captain Alvin Cheuk Him Sham and with 40 seconds left Ka Ho Wong scored the game-winner on a power play.

Thailand moved this season from the Challenge Cup of Asia to the World Championship program and finished in third place in its debut thanks to a 5-4 shootout win against Bosnia & Herzegovina in the first game of the tournament and beating Kuwait 9-1. The Bosnians were fourth thanks to a 9-0 blanking of Kuwait.

2019 Worlds: Day 3 Recap


Group A

Finland beats Russia, 4-0


  • Finland – Petra Nieminen, Sanni Hakala, Viivi Vainikka, Elisa Holopainen
  • Russia – n/a

It was all Finland in this one, who bounced back in resounding fashion from their third-period collapse in the tournament opener to roll past the Russians. The Finns’ young players continued to stand out, with Nieminen opening the scoring and Vainikka earning Player of the Game honors with a goal and two assists. Holopainen and Hakala each chipped in a goal and an assist as well. Overall, Finland outshot Russia, 37-18. Goaltender Valeria Merkusheva started the game for the Russians and was relieved by Anna Prugova about eight minutes into the third.

Canada vs USA


  • United States – Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Annie Pankowski
  • Canada – Sarah Nurse, Brianne Jenner

There was a lot of special teams action in this one. The teams took a combined eight penalties (five for Team USA, three for Canada), and both teams were able to take advantage at one point or other. Two of Canada’s goals came on the power play, and so did one of the Americans’. As expected, this was another close game between the rivals. Team USA took the lead three different times, but the Canadians matched them goal for goal until Pankowski’s game-winner towards the end of the second period.

Canada had some really good chances to tie it in the dying minutes of the third, but Team USA’s penalty kill came up huge to prevent the Canadian power play from getting a third goal in six-on-four fashion. Alex Rigsby was excellent in net for the Americans, with 31 saves. Emerance Maschmeyer made 27 saves for Team Canada.

Group B

Czech Republic beats Sweden, 5-3


  • Czech Republic – Natálie Mlýnková, Klara Hymlarova, Vendula Pribylova, Denisa Křížová, Tereza Vanišová
  • Sweden – Hanna Olsson, Emma Nordin, Erika Grahm

The Czech Republic picked up a big win over Sweden to finish the day on top of Group B. The two teams traded goals to start off, with Olsson getting Sweden on the board in the first and Mlýnková tying it up for the Czechs less than four minutes later. Nordin scored to put the Swedes ahead before the end of the period, but the Czech Republic scored three unanswered to take a two-goal lead and, eventually, the game.

The power play was once again clicking for the Czech Republic, tallying two goals today.

Germany beats Japan, 3-2


  • Germany – Anna-Maria Fiegert, Celina Haider, Marie Delarbre
  • Japan – Chiho Osawa, Hanae Kubo

Another excellent goaltending performance from Jennifer Harß propelled the Germans to their second-straight win to start the World Championship. She made 39 saves to hold off the Japanese attack. There was plenty of drama in this one at the end; Germany went up 2-0 midway through the third before Japan stormed back to tie it up less than two minutes later. Delarbre broke the tie with about three minutes left to secure the win.

2019 Worlds: Day 2 recap


Group A

Russia beat Switzerland, 2-1


  • Russia – Anna Timofeyeva, Olga Sosina
  • Switzerland – Evelina Raselli

Better late than never for Russia, who peppered Swiss keeper Janine Alder with 43 shots. All three goals in this game came on the power play.

The Swiss opened the scoring through Evelina Raselli midway through the first, but Russia tied the game with ten seconds to go on a shot by Anna Timofeyeva. That score would stand until the third, when Russia put the game in their captain’s hands and she came through: Olga Sosina netted the winner with just 37 seconds to go in regulation on a power play goal.

Group B

Czech Republic beats France, 3-1


  • Czech Republic – Katerina Mrázová, Klara Hymlarova, Aneta Ledlova
  • France – Emmanuelle Passard

The Czech Republic opened their tournament with a win over France.

The French struggled to say out of the box, taking six penalties over the course of the game. It cost them twice as they gave up two goals while down a player.

2019 Worlds: Day 1 recap

Germany’s Laura Kluge scores the game winning goal on Sweden’s Sarah Grahn


Group A

Canada beats Switzerland, 6-0


  • Canada – Loren Gable, Natalie Spooner, Emily Clark (2), Jamie Rattray, Blayre Turnbull
  • Switzerland – n/a

Swiss goaltender Andrea Brandli only allowed two goals in the first and none in the second before Canada really turned up the heat in the third. They scored four goals on 17 shots in the final frame. Brandli didn’t get much help from her teammates as they only has six shots all game — four in the first, two in second, and zero in the third.

USA beat Finland, 6 – 2


  • USA – Kendall Coyne Schofield, Melissa Samoskevich, Hilary Knight, Alex Carpenter, Brianna Decker, Annie Pankowski
  • Finland – Elisa Holopainen, Petra Nieminen

Kendall Coyne-Schofield had two assists and a goal in Team USA’s wild comeback win. Finland was leading 2-1 off of goals from Holopainen and Nieminen after the second period, but in the third, Team USA scored five unanswered goals from five different players. Noora Räty made 39 saves, but Team USA’s third-period onslaught was just too much.

Group B

Germany beats Sweden, 2 – 1 in a shootout


  • Germany – Emily Nix, Laura Kluge (shootout)
  • Sweden – Sofia Engstrom

Germany opened the tournament by upsetting Sweden in a shootout, with Laura Kluge netting the sole and winning goal in the shootout.

Both teams scored in the middle frame, though the Germans only recorded three total shots in the period. The whole game was busy for Germany’s goaltender Jennifer Harss as Sweden had 41 shots in the whole game.

Japan beat France, 3 – 0


  • Japan – Mei Miura, Ayaka Toko, Suzuka Taka
  • France – n/a

Japanese goaltender Nana Fujimoto pitched a shutout in their opening game stopping 25 shots against the newcomers, France.

Two-time Olympian Daoust to finally make WHC debut

By The Canadian Press

Had the final score been different, Melodie Daoust’s shootout goal would be more celebrated in Canadian hockey history.

With an Olympic gold medal on the line last year, Daoust didn’t play it safe by choosing a corner of the net and shooting.

She wheeled in on U.S. goaltender Maddie Rooney, going forehand-backhand-forehand before reaching to slide a one-handed backhander by the netminder’s outstretched pad.

It was a perfect rendition of the move named after Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg.

“What I’m thinking about as I go down, if I try to pick a spot and shoot right at that corner, but I miss the net, you look as bad as trying that move and missing it,” Daoust explains a year later.

“You always need a Plan B.”

Her gobsmacking goal giving Canada a 3-2 lead in the shootout was subsequently overshadowed by the dramatic finale in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s equally impressive moves to score on a sprawling Shannon Szabados, followed by Rooney stoning Meghan Agosta to end the six-round shootout in favour of the U.S., get higher billing any time the 2018 Olympic women’s final is re-lived.

Video of Daoust’s execution of “The Forsberg” endures in social media, however, as a GIF.

“I’m happy to see the world knows what girls are capable of,” Daoust said. “We’re training the same way as the guys and trying the same moves.”

Had that goal led to gold, it would have felt like sweet justice to Canadians who can recall Sweden’s Forsberg beating Canada’s Corey Hirsch in a shootout with those moves for Olympic men’s gold in 1994.

Daoust, pronounced dah-OO, was two years old in ’94. She says she didn’t analyze all the available video of Forsberg or others succeeding with those dangles.

She thinks she saw the sequence once, which was inspiration enough to work on it in the months the Canadian women were centralized prior to the Winter Olympics.

“I’ve seen that move so many times in practice and so to see Melodie pull it out, I wasn’t surprised,” her Canadian teammate Brianne Jenner said.

“I’m still in awe of it.”

Canada’s scoring leader in Pyeongchang with three goals and four assists in five games, Daoust was named the Olympic tournament’s most valuable player.

She joined Hayley Wickenheiser (2002, 2006) and Agosta (2010) among Canadians to earn that distinction.

Daoust also won Olympic gold with Canada in 2014.

So it seems odd a two-time Olympian is about to play in her first world championship.

Daoust, from Valleyfield, Que., makes her debut Thursday when Canada opens against Switzerland in Espoo, Finland.

An unheralded 22-year-old rookie when she was named to the 2014 Olympic squad, torn knee ligaments cost Daoust most of her 2014-15 season with the McGill University Martlets.

Passed over for subsequent world championships because of “injuries and bad timing”, Daoust had to climb over other forwards on Canada’s depth chart to be an Olympian again in 2018.

She was a Canadian Women’s Hockey League rookie this season playing for Les Canadiennes de Montreal.

Daoust was sidelined for three months with another knee injury, but returned in time to score two goals and assist on three others in the Clarkson Cup playoffs.

Her 11 goals and nine assists in just 14 regular-season games with Les Canadiennes is offensive output Hockey Canada covets.

“She’s a special player,” said Gina Kingsbury, director of national women’s teams. “She might be, in my mind, the smartest player we have.

“She’ll be a big part of our group and our identity as well.”

Daoust was also an assistant coach this past season with the University of Montreal Carabins, who won a bronze medal at the U Sports women’s championship.

With coaching definitely in her future plans, the 27-year-old didn’t want to wait until the end of her playing career to start down that path.

“I feel I can still learn about the game by me playing it and then I can share it with the girls,” Daoust explained.

“I just thought for me it was good start to step into the job life and see if I do like it,” she continued. “I studied to be a phys-ed teacher. I liked it, but it wasn’t a passion of mine.

“A hockey career is the job that’s going to give me the most thrill.”

Daoust could teach The Forsberg, although she’ll keep a few secrets to herself in case she needs to break it out again.

“First, you need to breathe in and loosen up the hands,” Daoust said. “When you go in, you want to have a good angle and you want to make the goalie move in her net.

“It’s usually one or two moves before you see if the goalie is going to bite or not and follow you. I can’t give all my tips away.”

In addition to her coaching gig and commitments to her CWHL and Canadian teams, Daoust and partner Audrey St-Germain have a 10-month old son Matheo.

“The rest of my life is kind of separated from sport,” Daoust said. “Those are two big parts that are taking up a big part of my life. I’m really happy I can do both.”

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