By Martin Merk – IIHF.com
The Women’s Olympic Qualification for PyeongChang 2018 has started with the Preliminary Round 1 tournament in Mexico City that was won by the hosts.
The Mexican women’s national team blanked Hong Kong 13-0 in its first game and then took care of business on Sunday night with a 11-5 victory against Turkey.
Joanna Rojas scored five goals in two games for Mexico, as many as the tournament’s scoring leader, Turkish-American forward Cagla Baktiroglu.
Mexico dominated the deciding game with 39-21 shots on goal against Turkey and pre-decided the game with a 3-0 lead after less than 15 minutes of play. Turkey tried to come back in a goal-laden game but never came closer than two goals. Claudia Tellez, who will become the first Mexican player in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, was named best player of her team in the game with one goal and two assists as 700 spectators celebrated the home team.
Mexico already beat Turkey last spring, 6-1, when the teams met at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B in Jaca, Spain. It was the first time the teams met after Mexico had entered a women’s national team in IIHF competition in 2014.
Turkey finished the event in second place thanks to their 8-2 win against Hong Kong.
Hosting the women’s tournament, the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation also made use of the opportunity and invited girls to try hockey as part of the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
After winning the tournament the Mexicans will play in the second preliminary round. In Group G in Astana they will play host Kazakhstan, Great Britain and Poland, 3-6 November.
From 4-6 November Group H will be hosted in San Sebastian with the Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia and host Spain.