Sweden-Germany 7-3 (4-1, 3-0, 0-2)
CHICAGO – Team Sweden played the game it knew it had in them, pounding Germany to the tune of 7-3 to win the bronze medal at the WW U18 Championship. By finishing fourth, however, Germany finishes higher than any women’s team since the IIHF started the women’s program in 1990.
Rebecca Stenberg paced the attack with three goals in the first period.
“It’s always hard to compete with USA and Canada, so I’m very happy with the bronze medal,” Stenberg said after.
The Germans barely got the puck into the Swedish end in the opening period, and they were immediately on their heels after Stenberg gave Sweden a 1-0 lead at 3:31. Midway through, it was already 3-0. This was in sharp contract to the first meeting between the teams in which the score was tied 3-3 in the second period.
“We played Germany in the first game, and I think we were very nervous. Some players had never worn the national sweater before, and we were more prepared this time. The coach told us today to go out with full speed and press. We tried to do that. I think it was very good.”
The Germans did manage to make it a 3-1 game on a rare foray. Manuela Anwander got her fourth of the tournament, but Stenberg got her third and made it 4-1 with just six seconds left to send the Germans to the dressing room with their heads down.
The second period was equally lop-sided, and the Swedes scored the only three goals of the period to put the game well out of reach. Two scary moments occurred just minutes apart. Sweden’s captain, Josefine Holmgren, lost her wind after a mid-ice collision, but she returned a few shifts later.
Germany’s Daria Gleissner was not so lucky. She was hit in the forearm by a shot and was helped off the ice. She had a splint put on the arm and went off to hospital with a suspected fracture.
The third period was more evenly played and featured six minor penalties. The Germans scored on two of their four opportunities to make the score a little closer, but it was a case of much too little too late.
“I think everyone on this team has a chance to compete with the girls on the senior team, maybe not right now but in a few years,” an optimistic Stenberg said of the many players on the team who have now graduated from the U18 event.