Sweden – Germany 4 – 1 (0 – 1, 1 – 0, 3 – 0) Game Sheet, Photos
ZLIN – In a tightly-fought game, it was the Swedes who came out on top in the third period, scoring three unanswered goals to beat Germany 4-1 and win the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship bronze medal.
Goaltender Jessica Hjorth limited the German offence to one goal on 18 shots, allowing her forwards to pressure Germany in the third period and score twice on consecutive power plays to claim the bronze.
Miscues late in the game by the Germans proved fatal. Sweden’s offence got a boost when Germany’s Michelle Lubbert was called for tripping in the third period. One the ensuing power play, Michelle Lowenhielm beat Albl with a wrist shot, her second goal of the tournament and the eventual game winner. The goal gave the momentum to Sweden, and their forwards continued to harass the German defence, forcing them to commit another penalty when Marie Delarbre was called for hooking.
In the middle of a scrum in front of the German net, the puck came to Swedish forward Matildah Andersson, the overtime hero of Sweden’s quarter-final victory over Finland. Andersson calmly drove it home, cementing a two-goal lead for Sweden that they did not give up.
One of the top performers in this year’s tournament, German forward Kerstin Spielberger, added another goal to her overall tally, scoring her eighth of the championship just under five minutes into the opening frame. After Germany drew first blood, Sweden tied the game midway through the second period on a goal by Elin Johansson.
Sweden then took over in the third, and shortly after Isabell Palm added an empty netter, the girls in yellow and blue mobbed Hjorth in her net, celebrating Sweden’s second bronze at the women’s U18 championship. Forward Linn Peterson won the Best Player award for Sweden.
The bronze medal is a redemption of sorts for Team Sweden, which fell to a disappointing fifth place at last year’s tournament in Stockholm. For Germany, although they finished out of the medal podium, their fourth place campaign counts as their best finish in the championship and is an encouraging sign of the nation’s progress at the women's U18 level.Switzerland – Russia 2 – 3 (1 – 2, 1 – 0, 0 – 0, 0 – 1) Game Sheet
PREROV – Heading into the third game of the relegation round and tied a game apiece, it was win or be relegated for Switzerland and Russia. With a sense of urgency present in both teams, they took their final game of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship down to the wire, until Russian captain Valeria Pavlova scored her second goal early in overtime, sending the Swiss to Division I.
The game was an exercise in pressure for both goaltenders, as each team had a number of scoring chances through the opening two periods. Following a pair of early goals by Pavlova and Renata Isanbayeva, Switzerland’s top line responded with two unanswered scores of their own. First Isabel Waidacher scored with ten seconds left in the first period, then linemate Lara Stalder followed up in the second with another goal to knot the game up 2-2.
Of the two netminders, Russia’s Margarita Monakhova was kept the most busy, having had to turn away nearly fifty Swiss shots by the end of the second period. Though both teams’ shot count went down drastically in the third period, Switzerland had to sweat it out in the final minutes, after a tripping call on Selina Wuttke forced the team to go on the penalty kill with 2:47 remaining.
But Russia, which did not score a goal until the third game of this year's tournament, refused to be relegated for the second year in a row, and at 1:44 into the extra period Pavlova ensured that her team would be playing at in next year's U18 world championship.
The loss send Switzerland to Division 1, to be replaced by Hungary, which has qualified for the 2013 top division event.