Perfect so far

Czechs, Canadians move to 2-0 at women’s U18s

24.03.2014
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Canada and the Czech Republic are both undefeated and will contest the top seed in Group A on Wednesday. Photos: Mika Kylmaniemi, Jana Chytilova / HHOF-IIHF Images

Czech Republic – Japan 3-1 (2-1, 1-0, 0-0)

BUDAPEST – The Czech Republic is in fine form through two games at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, defeating Japan today 3-1 and solidifying a trip to the playoff round.

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“It was one of the key games in this tournament for us,” said head coach Jan Fidrmuc. “We playe against them four days ago so we knew them a bit but they played very tough today.”

Klara Peslarova had another strong game, giving up a goal to the Japanese early but shutting the door the rest of the way despite a tenacious effort from Japan to get back into the game.

Dominika Laskova took the puck into the Japanese zone and fired a shot from the side of the net that rebounded in front for Vendula Pribylova to get her first goal of the tournament.

Japan answered on the power play when Chiaki Soda fed Suzuka Taka in front of the net with a pass to knot things up at 1-1. But seconds later Laskova got the puck deep in the Japanese zone and threw it towards the net from the goal line, catching Japanese goaltender Ayu Tonosaki off-guard and out of position to go back up by a goal.

Tereza Vanisova gave the Czechs got some insurance early in the second period with a goal 1:13 into the frame, but it wouldn't matter as Peslarova denied any comeback attempt by the Japanese.

With the victory the Czechs move to 2W-0L in two games at the U18 Women’s Worlds, a great start for a team that finished in fourth place last year. Things get tougher going forward with a big test against Canada in their final preliminary round game, but the team looks to be in good shape for another run at a medal in Budapest.

“Our big strength is team spirit,” said Laskova, who finished with a goal and an assist and was chosen as the Czech Republic’s player of the game. “I haven’t played them (Canada) yet to I am excited. We just need to do our best and play as a team.”

Japan will try to avoid the relegation round in their game against Finland on Wednesday.

Finland – Canada 0-7 (0-2, 0-5, 0-0)

BUDAPEST–Canada steamrolled Finland 7-0 and now has 14 goals in two games at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. Several players found the back of the net for the Canadians, who will face the only other undefeated team in Group A, the Czech Republic, on Wednesday.

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"I think that we expect it of ourselves to be the hardest working team out there," said team captain Lauren Wildfang. "We're just taking things one game at a time, tomorrow we have a day off and Wednesday we'll come back at it."

Five minutes into the first period Canada drew the game’s first power play. Forward Sarah Potomak gained possession at the side of the Finnish net fired a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Anni Keisala.

Canada struck again off a faceoff in the Finnish zone at 9:07. Stephanie Lalancette scored her first ever international goal, getting the puck into the slot and through the legs of Keisala for the 2-0 lead.

The game played out almost the same way for Canada as in the opener against Japan, with a flood of goals late in the second period. First it was Eve Audrey Picard made a great interception at the blue line and beat Keisala with a backhand shot, her second goal of the tournament.

Then with five minutes to go in the frame the Finnish net turned into a shooting gallery as Victoria Bach, Jessica Healey, Rebecca Leslie, and Alexandra Labelle lit the lamp for Canada.

The Canadians will have a day off before playing the Czech Republic for the right to advance straight to the semi-finals as the top seed in Group A. Finland will play Japan, with the losing team destined for the relegation round.

ADAM STEISS

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