Japan wins five games
by Martin Merk|13 NOV 2018
Japanese captain Akane Shiga (right) was one of the top players of the tournament.
photo: David Wassagruba
The November International Break also saw 11 U18 women’s national teams compete at four venues. Japan, the promoted team to the top-level 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, impressed two months before hosting the U18 Women’s Worlds in Obihiro by winning all five games.

Japan did not only participate in a tournament but ahead of it won two games against the Czechs, currently ranked sixth in the world, 4-0 and 5-1. Hina Shimomukai had three points (1+2) in the 4-0 win while Rei Halloran had a 30-save shutout. Akane Shiga scored two goals in the 5-1 victory where Reika Sasaki saved 23 of 24 shots on goal.

A few days later Japan won a Four Nations Tournament in Bad Tolz before host Germany, top-division rival Switzerland and Slovakia.

The game against Switzerland was the toughest one for the Japanese. Emma Ingold gave Switzerland a first-period lead but Japan scored three unanswered goals including two from Makoto Ito and one from Moeka Tsutsumi. However, Switzerland came back with third-period goals from Janine Hauser and Ingold to force overtime. Japan eventually won the game in a shootout. Airi Sato was credited for the game winner.

Japan blanked host Germany 2-0 with goals from captain Shiga and Shimokumai and sealed the tournament win with a 6-0 blanking of Slovakia on the last day.

Mako Ito was the scoring leader of the tournament with five points (3+2) before Shiga (2+3), who switched from defence to forward for this season. German forward Sarah Kubiczek was the top goal scorer with four markers.

Germany, which was relegated to Division I, had two statement wins at the tournament blanking Slovakia 3-0 and on the last game Switzerland 4-0 in a game for second place. Switzerland finished third with just one victory against winless Slovakia thanks to Hauser’s overtime goal in a 3-2 win.

Sweden wins Nordic series

From the top-ranked nations only Finland and Sweden played games too during the break in a three-game series in Kuortane, the home base of the Finnish U18 national team.

The power play made the difference in the first game that ended with a 3-1 win for the home team that outshot the Swedes 33-11. Emilia Vesa capitalized on the game’s first power play at 13:21 but at 8:32 of the second period Maria Lindberg tied it up, also with one player more on the ice. The Finns skated to a win in the third period with Kiti Seikkula’s game-winner at 2:58 and a power-play goal from Kiira Yrianen with 103 seconds left.

Sweden, last season’s surprise silver medallist, came back in the following days and although the team was again outshot in both games, the yellow-and-blue team got two wins.

Two goals late in the second period from Thea Johansson and Josefin Bouveng paved the way for Sweden’s 2-1 win. In the last game Jenny Antonsson opened the scoring early in the game but Vesa tied it up for Finland midway the second frame. Thea Johansson scored the game winner on a power play 71 seconds into the third period and Linnea Johansson made it 3-1 with a shot into the empty net.

Hungary succeeds in Poland

Not only top women’s hockey nations were involved during the International Break as the Polish city of Sosnowiec was host of another Four Nations Tournament during Poland’s 100-year anniversary celebration of the restoration of independence.

The Poles did so in fashion as they led the standings after the first two days by blanking Spain 3-0 and edging Great Britain 3-2. On the last game a winner-takes-all game was waiting as Hungary was also undefeated following a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Great Britain with goals from Lara Strobl and Imola Horvath and a 1-0 success against Spain thanks to Lila Faggyas’ overtime winner.

Hungary won the “final” 4-1. Orsolya Varadi, Faggyas, Zsofia Pazmandi and Noemi Puskas scored for the Magyars while Wiktoria Sikorska scored Poland’s goal.

Great Britain claimed third place after beating Spain 3-0 in the last game.


Series in Finland
8 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland Sweden 3-1
9 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland Sweden 1-2
10 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland Sweden 1-3
Four Nations Tournament in Germany
8 Nov. Bad Tolz (GER) Switzerland Japan 3-4 SO
8 Nov. Bad Tolz (GER) Germany Slovakia 3-0
9 Nov. Bad Tolz (GER) Germany Japan 0-2
9 Nov. Bad Tolz (GER) Slovakia Switzerland 2-3 OT
10 Nov. Bad Tolz (GER) Japan Slovakia 6-0
10 Nov. Bad Tolz (GER) Germany Switzerland 4-0
Standings: 1. Japan 8, 2. Germany 6, 2. Switzerland 3, 4. Slovakia 1
Series in the Czech Republic
5 Nov. Tachov (CZE) Czech Rep. Japan 0-4
6 Nov. Tachov (CZE) Czech Rep. Japan 1-5
Four Nations Tournament in Poland
9 Nov. Sosnowiec (POL) Great Britain Hungary 1-2
9 Nov. Sosnowiec (POL) Poland Spain 3-0
10 Nov. Sosnowiec (POL) Hungary Spain 1-0 OT
10 Nov. Sosnowiec (POL) Poland Great Britain 3-2
11 Nov. Sosnowiec (POL) Great Britain Spain 3-0
11 Nov. Sosnowiec (POL) Poland Hungary 1-4
Standings: 1. Hungary 8, 2. Poland 6, 3. Great Britain 4, 4. Spain 0