ZURICH – The Netherlands women’s team took its first step on the long road to the 2014 Winter Olympics, winning the first Preliminary Olympic Qualification group stage held in Jastrzebie-Zdroj, Poland.
The Dutch dispatched Korea, Poland and Slovenia in the round robin, claiming Group H with an undefeated record, thanks in large part to the scoring trio of Mieneke de Jong, Savine Wielenga, and Julie Zwarthoed, who combined for 22 points in only three games.
After opening the tournament with a 5-2 win over Korea, the Netherlands faced its stiffest challenge in the group from the Poles, who took the team to overtime but lost 5-4 on a power play goal from Zwarthoed.
Although it is a positive start, the Oranje still face long odds to get to Sochi. The Netherlands will now advance to the next stage of the Olympic qualification, to take place in early November. Depending on the seeding of the other Preliminary Qualification group, Group G, the team will play in Valmiera, Latvia or Shanghai, China, the two venues for the Pre-Olympic Qualification stage.
The winners from each of these two Pre-Olympic Qualification groups will advance to the Final Olympic Qualification, to be held in February 2013. The top two teams left in the Final Olympic Qualification will be given the last two spots in Sochi 2014, alongside the top six women’s hockey nations in the IIHF World Ranking.
Click here for details on the Olympic Qualification phases