VIERUMÄKI, Finland – German player Bettina Evers reached the 300-game mark with the women’s national team at the Four Nations Tournament that was won by the host nation Finland.
The 33-year-old became the first player who to have played more than 300 games for the German women’s national team on Saturday and she’s only the second German to reach the mark after legendary Udo Kiessling, who played 320 international games.
Evers played her first game for the team in 1996 and remembers it well.
“It was in Crimmitschau and I was just 15. I scored three goals against the Czech Republic and all my family was there,” she said.
Since then she has represented Germany in 11 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships – including nine at the top level – and in two Olympic Winter Games: Salt Lake City 2002 and in Turin 2006.
After the German women’s national team had missed the qualification for Vancouver 2010, the goal for the new season is self-explaining for the Hanover native, who’s also a staff sergeant in the German army.
“My main goal is to be nominated for Sochi and if I’m allowed to be there I want to play a good tournament with the team,” she said.
Four European teams had their first big test of the season when they convened for a Four Nations Tournament held in Vierumäki and in other towns nearby. For the Germans, one of the qualifiers in Sochi with Japan being the other, it wasn’t an easy event against some of the top European nations. The underdog started with a 3-0 loss to Sweden and Evers’ jubilee game was an 8-2 defeat against Finland.
In the last game against Russia, the Germans managed to keep the score low despite being outshot 44-16, but with 80 seconds left in regulation time Iva Gavrilova scored her second goal in the 2-1 victory to lift her team to a second-place finish in the tournament.
Russia previously defeated Sweden, one of its neighbours in the World Ranking, 4-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Galina Skiba and Yekaterina Smolentseva.
Only one team was too strong for the Russians: Finland, between 2008 and 2011 the best European team at Women’s World Championships and Olympics. The Finns avenged their bronze medal game loss against Russia at the 2013 Worlds last spring with a 1-0 victory on home ice on Friday.
Noora Räty had a shutout with 25 saves while defenceman Mira Jalosuo scored the only goal on a five-on-three with 1:41 left in the second period. Russian goalkeeper Nadezhda Alexandrova had 30 saves.
Finland won the tournament thanks to this opening-day win and two more victories against Germany, 8-2, and Sweden, 3-0.