Bronze Medal Game
Sweden – Czech Republic 9-1 (4-0, 3-0, 2-1)
FUSSEN, Germany – There was no bronze medal upset at this year’s World Women U18 Championship as Sweden easily skated past the Czech Republic, 9-1, for third place. The bronze is the first-ever medal for the Swede’s at the Women’s U18 and avenges last year’s 4-2 bronze loss against the Czechs.
The Swedes made it clear quickly that they were not going to leave this year’s championship empty handed as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes. Emma Nordin opened the scoring with a power-play tally 51 seconds into action and followed up with a second extra-man goal at the 4:40 mark. Cecilia Ostberg netted the 3-0 goal less than a minute later and then added her second marker with five minutes left in the first period, giving the Swedes a 4-0 lead.
The parade of goals continued into the second period with Sweden putting in another three. Ostberg completed her hat trick in the period and added an assist.
To underline that this wasn’t a standard bronze medal game, Sweden pulled starting goaltender Josephin Lennstrom to give Madeleine Schelander playing time midway through the period. Lennstrom faced just five shots in her showing as Sweden out-shot the Czechs 37-5 in the first two periods.
The third period was purely academic as Ostberg put in her fourth goal, while Josefine Holmgren added her second. The only bright spot for the Czechs came when Karolina Kovarova spoiled the Swedish shutout in the last five minutes. The goal drew a tepid response from the exhausted Czech bench.
Despite the rough going in its last two games, the Czech’s fourth-place finish is still a success for the nation, whose women’s team plays only at the Division I level.
5th Place Game
Germany – Finland 1-2 (1-0, 0-1, 0-1)
FUSSEN, Germany – Finland ended its World Women U18 Championship on a high note after edging host Germany, 2-1, in the fifth-place game.
The game was a rematch of last year’s fifth-place game, which Germany won, 4-1. This year the two teams showed that they are once again on par with each other as neither squad could skate out to more than a one-goal lead.
Germany took the very early lead when Jacqueline Janzen scored just 1:03 into play. More than 26 minutes later, Finland found an answer when Salla Rantanen scored. Finland out-shot Germany two to one in the first two periods, but German goaltender Jule Flotgen kept her team in the game.
The deadlock stood until the third period when Finland’s Elisa Rytkonen scored early in the third period. The goal would stand as the eventual game-winner as the Finns were able to turn the tables on last year’s fifth-place game result with the 2-1 win.
Relegation Game (7th place)
Switzerland – Russia 2-3 (1-2, 1-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1)
FUSSEN, Germany – Russia will return to the top division of the World Women U18 Championship after narrowly escaping relegation with a dramatic 3-2 shootout win against Switzerland.
For the Swiss, the loss was a bitter pill to swallow after a strong showing at this year’s championship. Switzerland earned a surprise 4-3 win against Finland, and came one shootout goal away from avoiding the relegation game in yesterday’s match against Germany. But today, the Swiss lacked the spark they had earlier in the tournament and struggled to put the Russians away.
Olga Sosina scored the shootout-winning goal as the fourth Russian shooter, beating Swiss goaltender Sophie Anthamatten five hole. Switzerland’s Nina Waidacher had the chance to answer, but her deke attempt was knocked away by Russian goalie Anna Prugova, emptying the Russian bench.
It took a two-man advantage to open the scoring as Fabiola Bachmann scored 11:11 into the game. Russia answered just over two minutes later with a power-play goal from Maria Vasilyeva. The cow bells ringing in support of the Swiss were silenced at the end of the first period when Russia took its first lead of the game with 1:45 left in the period on another power-play tally, this one from hero Sosina.
The Swiss were stymied for much of the second period, but managed to net the game-tying goal with 5:49 left in the stanza. Evalina Raselli scored the first even strength goal of the game to make it a 2-2 deadlock. Switzerland had its chances to take the lead in the third period, but couldn’t capitalize on any of the five power-play chances they were given. The Swiss fell into penalty trouble late in the period, but held off the Russian extra-man attack to force the overtime.
Again, Switzerland had the upper hand in overtime, and spent virtually the entire five minutes in front of the Russian net. But despite several good chances, the Swiss could not get the game-winner and had to go into the shootout. It was the second straight game that the Swiss lost in the shootout.
The Swiss will move down to the Division I level, while Russia is safe at the top division for 2010. Japan will join the top division next year after earning the promotion from Division I.