ASIAGO, Italy – Hungary and Great Britain finish atop of the first World Championship event of the season. Both teams qualified for the U18 Women’s World Championship Division I.
The U18 Women’s program expanded to a third tier this year as the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Qualification was played in Asiago, Italy, to determine the remaining two teams for the upcoming Division I tournament.
And it was the red-white-green tricolour that was raised for the winning team, however, the flag was not Italy’s, but Hungary’s.
The Magyars steamrolled through the tournament and showed that they are ready to compete at Division I level and challenge some of the established teams. They won all their games with relative ease; against China (10-1), France (3-0), Great Britain (8-1), Kazakhstan (10-2) and Italy (6-0) and led the event in almost every statistical category. Alexandra Huszak, who only appeared in three games, was the event’s scoring leader with nine goals and four assists.
The race for second place in the standings and for the last berth to the Division I tournament was tighter. China, Great Britain and Italy were all in competition on the last day. Italy, however, had the toughest task and was blanked by Hungary while Great Britain and China met in a head-to-head game on Sunday.
The Chinese improved throughout the tournament after a difficult start and they could still have made it by defeating Great Britain in regulation time, and that was their aim. They outshot Great Britain 39-31 as Xin He scored the opening goal as well as the game-tying 2-2 marker while Saffron Allen and Katherine Gale replied for the Brits in between.
Xin He also scored the game-winner in the penalty shootout, but the goal was to no avail. Great Britain gained the point it needed by withstanding the Chinese pressure and keeping the 2-2 score until the end of regulation time.
For China the event ended with the unthankful third place, on eight points. Italy (7), France (6) and winless Kazakhstan followed behind.
Hungary and Great Britain will now join Japan, Slovakia, Austria and Norway in the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I which will be staged in Tromsø, Norway, from 29th December 2011 to 4th January 2012.
More information: Scores & Stats, Photo Gallery