Queens of bronze

W18: Russia gets back at the Czechs, 5-1

Harbor Center Buffalo New York U.S.A.

Russia has claimed its first-ever U18 Women's World Championship medal. Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images

BUFFALO – Russia’s U18 women’s team won its first ever medal in this event, defeating rivals Czech Republic, 5-1, to win bronze and avenge a 1-0 loss in the bronze game a year ago in Budapest. It was a deserved win as the Russians dominated from start to finish.

"We really wanted this game today because we remember Budapest and how close we came last year," said Russian captain Anna Shokhina, one of the stars today with a goal and two assists. "We're a year older now, and we deserved this win."

The Czechs were 5-0-1 in previous women’s under-18 games between the nations but the one loss, 3-1, had come earlier in the tournament.

The top Russian line of Alevtina Shtaryova-Shokhina-Fanuza Kaditrova was almost unstoppable this afternoon at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, generating chance after chance and accounting for three goals and eight points.

All three are legitimate candidates to make the senior national team for the Women's Worlds in Malmo, Sweden, in April. "I hope to be selected to the team, and I think my linemates have a chance to be as well," Shokhina said after finishing her third and final U18 tournament.  It was a line only recently put together by coach Alexander Ulyankin, but the threesome worked wonders.

The Russians had much the better of play in a brisk first period. They opened the scoring on the game’s first shift when Shokhina fed Shtaryova in the slot and her quick shot beat Blanka Skodova just 40 seconds into the game.

Skodova made a sensational save a few minutes later when the Russians passed the puck around beautifully off a three-on-one rush, but Skodova got her glove on the puck to keep the Czechs within a goal.

Indeed, although shots were even, 8-8 in the opening period, it was Russia that had the best chances.

The second period saw Russia again dominate, starting with another early goal. Just 27 seconds after the faceoff Kadirova banged in her own rebound to make it 2-0, but two and a half minutes later the Czechs finally got on the board.

Katerina Bukolska’s shot along the ice somehow found its way to the goal and between the pads of Valeria Tarakanova at 2:50.

The Russians reclaimed their two-goal lead midway through when Yekaterina Likhachyova beat her man one-on-one and fired a shot that Skodova gloved. The puck, however, bobbled off her glove and rolled back over the goal line. Although there is no video review here at the U18, the goal judge and referee quickly confirmed the goal.

The period belonged to Kadirova, though, who had at least three more excellent scoring chances without converting.

A third early goal sealed the Czechs’ fate. Kristina Koritkikh’s low shot from the slot beat Skodova just 1:52 into the final period, making it 4-1 and putting the game out of reach. It was a shot Skodova should have stopped.

Shokhina, on the other hand, scored a beauty midway through the period, roaring down the left wing and snapping a shot over the glove of Skodova to make it 5-12 at 10:18. "I didn't know I scored," Shokina admitted with a laugh. "I was falling down, but when I got up my teammates hugged me, so then I knew."

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