Czechs advance with big win

WW18: Canada, U.S. earn top seeds

01.01.2013
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The Czech Republic's first win of the tournament propelled the country into the playoff round. The Czechs will face off against Finland Wednesday in Heinola, while Hungary takes on Sweden in the quarter-finals. Photo: Phil MacCallum / HHOF-IIHF Images

Russia – Czech Republic 4-5 (2-3, 1-1, 1-1) VIERUMÄKI – The Czech Republic managed to avoid the relegation round and will now advance to the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship quarter-final thanks to a dramatic 5-4 victory over Russia. The Czechs twice gave up a two-goal lead to the Russians, and were on the brink of relegation until a late third period goal from Michaela Pejzlova gave them the points needed to advance. After watching a 4-2 lead evaporate with a power play goal by Anna Shokhina with under five minutes remaining in the game, the Czechs needed a goal in order to advance, as the team had dropped both its opening games while Russia held two points courtesy of an overtime victory over Sweden. With three minutes remaining and following a Czech timeout, a scramble for the puck behind the Russian net was won by Aneta Ledlova, who got a pass off to Pejzlova sitting alone at the top of the crease. She wasted no time and roofed it glove side to put her team back up for good. The victory was an emotional one for the Czech girls, who lost their captain Aneta Tejralova to injury when she fell awkwardly into the boards at the Russian end and was carried off on a stretcher. But following the game Tejralova was able to walk on the ice with assistance from her team and sing the national anthem. “We felt we had to win it of course, and to win it for her too,” said Pejzlova, who had two goals in the game including the game winner. “It was a great feeling to score, this was the best goal of my career...the best day of my life too.” Klara Chmelova and Tereza Vanisova opened the scoring early on for the Czech Republic, but Russia’s Anna Shokhina struck back with a pair of goals at 5:43 and 11:49 of the first period. Chmelova added another less than a minute later. Following Pejzlova’s first goal early in the second frame prompted a goalie change from Tatyana Shukina to Nadezhda Morozova, and Valeria Pavlova trimmed the lead to 4-3. “In the second period our defence began to break down and we let them back into the game,” said Czech Republic head coach Jan Fidrmuc. “But we felt that if we were able to get enough shots on net we would be able to score 4-5 goals.” The Czechs will now play against Finland in the quarter-final in Heinola on Wednesday, while Russia will be competing against Germany in the relegation round.

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Finland – Hungary (3-0, 1-0, 0-0)

HEINOLA – Team Finland is back on track in the new year following a loss to Canada in its second game, defeating Hungary 4-0 in the last preliminary round game of the 2013 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.   While head coach Juuso Toivola was happy with the result, he stressed that the team still needs to work better together in order to compete for a medal. “We started well and I’m satisfied with that, but the third period we needed to play better,” said Toivola. “We need to play as a team the whole game. Yes we scored four in the first period, but in the third players were just looking to get goals and we have to play strong the whole game in order to improve.” Penalty trouble kept the Hungarians from generating any momentum in the opening period, while the Finns were able to keep Hungary penned in its own zone. Three minutes into the game, Vilma Tanskanen won a faceoff in the Hungarian zone, dropping the puck back to captain Suvi Ollikainen. She fired a low wrist shot from the top of the circle and through the legs of goaltender Aniko Nemeth for the team’s first goal. The hosts followed up with a power play marker three minutes later, thanks to a point shot from Anna Kilponen that was deflected in front by Jonna Yli-Maenpaa. Hungary tried to mount some pressure on Finland, and had a good chance with a five-on-three. But at the 12-minute mark Emma Nuutinen stole the puck away from Hungary and took off for the net, outskating the Hungarian defender and beating Nemeth with a backhand. Nuutinen would add another goal late in the second period, deflecting in a shot from teammate Laura Lehtikangas to bring her goal tally to four for the tournament. Finland now has a date with the Czech Republic in the quarter-final game on Wednesday, while Hungary will face off against Sweden in the other quarter-final.

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USA – Sweden 8-0 (4-0, 2-0, 2-0) 
 

HEINOLA – The United States has continued its unbeaten run in the preliminary rounds of IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships, dismantling Sweden 8-0 and earning a bye to the 2013 tournament semi-finals. “The forwards are playing fantastic right now, and good defence starts with good offence,” said goaltender Sidney Peters. “The girls are doing a great job keeping the puck in the other team’s zone, and it’s made my job a lot easier in net. I’m really proud of how the team’s doing.” The Americans opened the game by keeping Sweden bottled up in its own end. Though an early interference call on the U.S. gave the Swedes breathing room to generate some pressure on Peters, the Americans killed off the penalty and soon after scored their first goal of the game, coming courtesy of Cara Piazza. The floodgates opened against the Swedes following the goal, as the U.S. scored three more times in succession within the span of one minute and 25 seconds. A backhand by Grace Zarecki, and shots from Megan Wolfe and Jennifer Ryan found the back of the net and, just like that, the U.S. was up 4-0. Sweden was playing its backup goaltender Maria Omberg after starter Julia Aberg went out with an injury prior to their second game. Team USA continued to take advantage, adding another goal 59 seconds into the second period. A sixth goal, coming from tournament scoring leader Taylar Cianfarano, prompted a goalie switch from Omberg to Olga Murase, who played well but surrendered two more goals to Katherine Schipper and Danielle Cameranesi. Through the six-year history of the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, the United States has never lost a game. In 2013, the States have yet to concede a goal, and will be looking to claim its fourth gold medal in the tournament.

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Canada – Germany 7-0 (3-0, 2-0, 2-0) It will be the usual suspects earning a bye to the semi-finals, as Canada joined the United States as the two top seeds in the 2013 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, closing out the preliminary round with a 7-0 victory over Germany in Group A. The Canadians came out with a dominant showing against the Germans, outshooting them 67-5. Six players chipped in on the score sheet, with defenceman Halli Krzyzaniak potting two goals and one assist. Forward Hanna Bunton scored a goal and an assist to earn the Best Player award, and Sarah Nurse, Ashleigh Brykaliuk, Catherine Daoust, and Hannah Miller rounded out the scoring for the Canadians. The loss is Germany’s third in as many games, and sends the team into the relegation round. Canada earns an automatic bye to the semi-finals. As with the States, defending U18 champions Canada has never lost a game in the preliminary round of a U18 Women’s World Championship. The two teams once again appear on a collision course for the gold medal, though the semi-final games in Heinola remain.

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ADAM STEISS
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