REYKJAVIK – Six teams from northern, central and southern Europe convened in Iceland for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B but in the end it was a neighbouring clash between Croatia and Slovenia that decided about promotion.
The two teams already met on the opening day and Slovenia, which was top-seeded and relegated from Division II Group A last year, was the favourite. Since the Slovenes entered a women’s national team in the program in 2003 it has always been better ranked than the Croats and defeated its neighbour in all three games outscoring it 13-4. This includes a 3-2 in shootout to determine the relegated team in the Division II Group A two years ago in Maribor, Slovenia.
The Croats missed straight promotion last year in the Division II Group A in Puigarda, Spain, but hoped for revenge this year.
After a strong but scoreless period for Croatia, the Slovenes gained the lead with a goal from Ursa Pazlar 41 seconds into the second period.
The Croats continued to create more scoring chances and a pair of goals from Diana Kruselj Posavec made it a 2-1 lead for Croatia after the middle frame.
In a tense third period captain Pia Pren tied it up for the Slovenes but at 9:08 Matea Klanac scored what would become Croatia’s game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory.
Both teams continued the tournament with four wins and it was Croatia’s historic win over Slovenia that would decide about gold. The Croats defeated Spain – also an opponent they lost to last time – 7-5 in the second game. Team captain Kruselj Posavec shone again offensively, this time with a hat trick.
The Croats followed up with a 3-0 blanking of host Iceland, an easy 8-0 win against Belgium and a 5-1 victory against Turkey.
Slovenia also did well against the other four opponents but wasn’t able to get more than the silver medals while Spain won bronze ahead of Iceland, Belgium and Turkey. Final Ranking:
1. Croatia 15
2. Slovenia 12
3. Spain 9
4. Iceland 6
5. Belgium 2
6. Turkey 1 Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goalkeeper: Sera Dogramaci, Turkey
Best Defenceman: Diana Kruselj Posavec, Croatia
Best Forward: Pia Pren, Slovenia Click here for scores, stats and photos.