Finnish girls win rehearsal
by Martin Merk|18 DEC 2018
Finnish forward Emilia Vesa scored in each of the three games at the Four Nations Tournament in Russia.
photo: Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images
The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship begins in less two weeks in Obihiro on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. In the last tournament before the biggest event for female junior players, Finland won a Four Nations Tournament in Russia.

The top-four ranked European nations in the category played at the Vsevolod Bobrov Ice Sport Palace in Stupino, about 100 kilometres south of the Russian capital of Moscow, and it was the Finns who got most points out of the event with evenly-matched teams thanks to three one-goal victories.

The tightest game was the one between the teams that were eventually ranked top-two on the opening day. Host Russia had high ambitions on home ice but the team saw itself trailing for the biggest part of the game.

Emilia Vesa, who ended up as the leader in goals (3) and points (3+0=3), opened the scoring at 16:27 and eight minutes into the second period Viivi Vainikka made it 2-0 for the Finns. But the Russians didn’t give up and tied the game thanks to two goals from defender Anna Savonina, the game-tying goal coming with the goaltender pulled and 10 seconds left in regulation time. After a scoreless five-minute overtime period it was Krista Parkkonen, who scored the game-winning goal in a shootout.

The Finnish lionesses continued the tournament with one-goal wins in regulation time. Vesa and Elli Makela erased a one-goal deficit after an early Swedish lead scored by Lina Ljungblom to beat their western neighbours 2-1. And against the Czech Republic the Finns won by the same score. Vesa again scored the first goal of her team to tie the game after Natalie Mlynkova’s opening marker and Elli Suoranta scored the game winner in the second period.

Russia continued to struggle on the second day. Julia Pejsova had a 28-shutout against the Russians while captain Adela Skrdova scored the lone goal in the Czechs’ 1-0 win. However, Russia still had a chance to move up in the table on the last day and did so with a 4-2 victory against Sweden to claim second place with four points.

Sweden earned a 2-0 lead after just 89 seconds thanks to goals from Thea Johansson and Ljungblom when the Russians changed goaltenders. Daria Grezden had to leave, in came Anna Alpatova. The team showed a reaction and tied the game before the end of the first period before increasing the score to 4-2. Russian defender Olesya Namestnikova moved to second place in scoring thanks to her goal and two assists in the game while Alpatova didn’t let in another goal to top the goaltender statistics with a 98.36% save percentage and 0.51 goals-against average before Pejsova (97.67% / 0.67 GAA).

Sweden finished the tournament in third place with three points, the same number as the Czechs. Sweden got its only win on the opening day, 3-2 against the Czech Republic.

Next is the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship that will be played in Obihiro from 6 to 13 January 2019 with eight teams in the usual two-tier system. Defending champion United States, Sweden, Canada and Russia are seeded in the “upper” Group A where the best two teams advance straight to the semi-finals while the other two teams will have to qualify through a quarter-final game against the best two Group B teams. Group B includes Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and host Japan.

In January there will be 19 more under-18 women’s teams playing in the lower divisions. Some of them used last week’s international break as well. Slovakia won its three games at a Four Nations Tournament in Zlin and finished first before the Czech U16 selection, host Hungary and Poland. Three Slovaks led the tournament in scoring with six points: Julia Matejkova (4+2), Romana Haluskova (3+3) and Tamara Dobosova (1+5) while Hungary’s Karmen Kerekes had four goals as well. Meanwhile in Copenhagen, Denmark had two wins in a three-game series against Norway.

Click here to access all tournaments of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program.


Four Nations Tournament in Russia
14 Dec. Stupino (RUS) Sweden Czech Rep. 3-2
14 Dec. Stupino (RUS) Russia Finland 2-3 SO
15 Dec. Stupino (RUS) Sweden Finland 1-2
15 Dec. Stupino (RUS) Czech Rep. Russia 1-0
16 Dec. Stupino (RUS) Russia Sweden 4-2
16 Dec. Stupino (RUS) Finland Czech Rep. 2-1
Standings: 1. Finland 8, 2. Russia 4, 3. Sweden 3, 4. Czech Republic 3
Visegrad Group Tournament in the Czech Republic
13 Dec. Zlin (CZE) Czech Rep. Poland 6-0
13 Dec. Zlin (CZE) Slovakia Hungary 3-4
14 Dec. Zlin (CZE) Poland Slovakia 3-11
14 Dec. Zlin (CZE) Hungary Czech Rep. 2-5
15 Dec. Zlin (CZE) Hungary Poland 6-0
15 Dec. Zlin (CZE) Czech Rep. Slovakia 0-1
Standings: 1. Slovakia 9, 2. Czech Republic 6, 3. Hungary 6, 4. Poland 0
Other games
13 Dec. Copenhagen (DEN) Denmark Norway 1-0
14 Dec. Copenhagen (DEN) Denmark Norway 4-3
15 Dec. Copenhagen (DEN) Denmark Norway 1-3