BUDAPEST – Russia was a different team today from the one that ended up in seventh place at last year’s U18 Women’s Worlds, bouncing back with a great performance in a 5-1 defeat of Sweden after losing its opening game 6-1 to USA. Russia – Sweden 5-1 (1-1, 0-2, 0-2)
"We knew we could do better this year, last year there were some missed shots and lost opportunities, but it was very frustrating to be in the relegation round," said Russian forward Anna Shokhina. "We wanted to play a better game this year, and (against USA) we didn't do it, but we were able to recover and refocus for this game."Click here for scores, stats, and photos
Penalties cost the Swedes after they had scored the opening goal and looked to be in control at the outset of the game. With Sweden on a power play Hanna Olsson took the puck into the Russian zone, splitting the defence and dishing it off to Denise Husak Asp trailing on the play for the game’s first goal nine minutes into the first period.
"We had a good start and tried to get to them, but they are a skilled team and we weren't able to follow them around the ice," said Swedish head coach Henrik Cedergren. "It wasn't a good game for us."
Russia came right back with a power play of its own, getting the puck into the Swedish crease and causing a scrum. Goaltender Sarah Berglind was unable to get a handle on the loose puck before it was finally batted in by Anna Shokhina to tie the game at one apiece.
Two late Swedish penalties gave Russia all the momentum going into the second period and forced Berglind to stay busy. The Swedish netminder has able to hold the fort until a tremendous end-to-end effort by Fanusa Kadirova finished with her beating Berglind with a backhand shot a minute and a half into the second frame.
Russian increased the lead at 13:35, this time on a 5-on-3 with a shot from Maria Batalova that Berglind was unable to bring in and gave up on the side to the net to Anastasia Chistyakova, who wired it home.
Down 3-1 in the third period, Sweden was unable to get back into the game, first after being gifted with a two-man advantage at the outset of the period then falling further behind after Anna Shokhina scored her second goal of the game on a power play to put Russia up by three. A converted penalty shot by Alevtina Shtaryova minutes later finished off any hopes for a comeback.
With the victory Russia moves to 1W-1L on the tournament with one more preliminary round game remaining against Hungary. Sweden will face Group B leaders USA on Wednesday.
USA – Hungary 7-0 (3-0, 2-0, 2-0)
Team USA stayed among the ranks of the three undefeated teams remaining in the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, downing Hungary 7-0.
Taylor Williamson had a goal and two assist to earn the Best Player award for the U.S., while goaltender Kaitlin Burt only needed to make five saves in the game to earn the shutout. Click here for scores, stats, and photos
At 18:35 Taylar Cianfarano took off for the Hungarian net on a two-on-one, keeping the puck and firing it straight into the top right corner for the opening goal.
Then 13 minutes later it was Abby Roque who got the puck at the goal line to the left of the net, made some nifty stickhandling and roofed it past Aniko Nemeth for her team’s second goal of the game. Then two minutes later it was Rebecca Gilmore’s turn as she slotted the puck home to give the U.S. a comfortable 3-0 lead going the first intermission.
Despite playing in front of a home crowd the Hungarians were unable to generate enough offence to give them a chance against the Americans. By the end of the first period U.S. goaltender Kaitlin Burr had only faced three shots on net. Victoria Sullivan and Megan Keller scored in the second period for the Americans, and in the third period Cianfarano got her second of the game and Taylor Williamson added another to close out a 7-0 shutout victory over the hosts.
USA will next take on Sweden, which won its first game against Japan but dropped a 5-1 decision to Russia earlier in the day. Hungary will face Russia in its final preliminary round game.