Canada takes two from U.S.
by Andrew Podnieks|11 NOV 2019
Emily Clark (pictured with Micah Zandee-Hart) scored high in Canada’s second win over Team USA.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
It was an active weekend for women’s hockey around the world this past weekend as 15 of the top-20 teams in the world played 23 games in a variety of important fixtures to prepare for the various divisions of the Women’s World Championship fast approaching in the new year.

Highlighting the activity were two games in Pittsburgh featuring the top-ranked USA against the second-ranked Canadians. Players from both sides were active earlier in the season playing alongside one another during their Dream Gap Tour, but with those games finished for the time being the national teams used the weekend to get re-acquainted with their greatest rivals.

The Canadians proved to be unpleasant guests, however, winning the first game, 4-1, on Friday night and taking the second as well, by a 5-3 score. The games were played at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, practice facility for the local NHL team, Pittsburgh Penguins.

That first game featured a bit of old and new for Canada. The “old” came in the form of veteran captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who had a short-handed goal and an assist on the opening goal. The “new” was Victoria Bach, a 23-year-old who helped Canada win gold at the 2014 WW18 but who hasn’t played at the senior level in IIHF competition yet. She scored off Poulin’s pass to start the scoring and added a second goal in the middle period. Hilary Knight got the lone goal for the home side.

“The game certainly didn’t go the way we drew it up,” head coach Bob Corkum told “You have to tip your hat to Canada. They came out and played a wonderful game, and we just didn’t have an answer for them. We’ll go back, look at some video, and get ready for Sunday.”
No doubt they were eager for retribution 48 hours later, but the Canadians had other ideas. This time, it was a young and emerging talent who led Canada as Emily Clark had three goals in the win. 

The Canadians bolted to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes, including Clark’s first marker six minutes into the game. Despite having the better of play in the second the Americans couldn’t cut into that lead. Early in the third, however, Kendall Coyne Schofield made it 3-1, only to see Clark restore the three-goal cushion. 

The home side kept the pressure on, and scored twice (Dani Cameranesi, Kelly Pannek) to make things a little tighter for Canada, but Clark completed her hat trick to keep the U.S. at bay.

"It was a disappointing weekend," Corkum acknowledged. "We looked in disarray a lot of the time, and the compete level was not there, so we have some work to do." 

The fruits of that homework will be on display again starting December 14 when the teams start their 2019-20 Rivalry Series in Hartford, Connecticut. They’ll play three days later in Moncton, New Brunswick and then take a long hiatus before playing three more games in early February: February 3 in Victoria, British Columbia, February 5 in Vancouver, B.C., and February 8 in Anaheim, California.

Czechs top European tournament

Meanwhile, in Dmitrov, the Russians hosted a Five Nations Tournament this past week featuring Finland (Women’s World Ranking 3), Russia (4), Switzerland (5), the Czech Republic (8) and Germany (9).

The Czechs were most impressive, winning all four games and producing a goals for-against difference of 16-2. Russia was second, their only blemish a 4-0 loss to the Czechs in the final round of games on Sunday. Finland beat the Germans and Swiss but lost to both the Czechs and Russians. The Swiss won one of four games and Germany went 0-4.

The middling Finnish results were a surprise given they had a reasonably full roster. Indeed, 13 of the 20 skaters from last year’s Women’s Worlds that won an historic silver were in Dmitrov.

The Czechs were led by three stars who will be counted on to bring the women’s team to a new level. Alena Mills had three goals and six points in the tournament. The 29-year-old is proving to be a late bloomer and has played in four Women’s Worlds—2013, 2016, 2017, and 2019. 

As well, Kristyna Kaltounkova had a hat trick against the Swiss in an 8-0 win, a promising start to her senior career after playing in three WW18 tournaments (2017-19). Lastly, Klara Hymlarova, a star at three WW18s overlapping with Kaltounkova (2015-17) led the team with five assists. 

The Swiss had a fairly full contingent but the obvious name missing from the lineup was Alina Muller, who is now playing Division I hockey with Northeastern and leading her team in scoring (7th overall in the NCAA). 
Alena Mills (née Polenska) led the successful Czechs in scoring in Dmitrov.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
In Michalovce, the Slovaks (Women’s World Ranking 15) hosted a 6 Nations Cup that included France (10), Denmark (11), Norway (13), Hungary (14) and China (20). Those teams were divided into two groups of three and the top team from each played in a finals game on Sunday. In that game, Hungary upset France, 3-2. All Group A teams—France, Slovakia, Norway—finished with a win and a loss, the French getting top spot because of goals scored.

In Group B, the placings were cleaner as Hungary won both its games by a cumulative 8-1 score. Denmark beat the hosts Slovaks, 4-0 in a third-place game. 

Don’t look now, but the Hungarians have made slow but very steady and consistent progress. In 2010, they were ranked 27th and have improved ever since. They have now been 14th for the last three years and for the first time earned a spot in the top division for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Canada. 

And lastly, the national women’s teams of Italy (Women’s World Ranking 17) and Austria (12) held a joint four-day training camp in Neumarkt during which time they played two games. Both went to a penalty-shot shootout. In the first game, neither team could score through 60 minutes of regulation and a five-minute overtime. It was left to Austria’s Anna Meixner to score in the PSS to secure the victory for her team. In the second game, teams played to a 1-1 tie after 65 minutes, but this time the Italians won in the shootout. 

Women's Senior Events

USA-Canada Exhibition Games
8 Nov. Pittsburgh (USA) USA - Canada 1-4
10 Nov. Pittsburgh (USA) USA - Canada 3-5
Five Nations Tournament in Russia
6 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Czech Rep. - Switzerland 8-0
6 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Russia - Finland 3-2 SO
7 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Finland - Czech Rep. 1-2
7 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Germany - Russia 0-5
8 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Switzerland - Finland 1-4
8 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Czech Rep. - Germany 2-1
9 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Finland - Germany 7-1
9 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Russia - Switzerland 6-1
10 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Germany - Switzerland 2-3 OT
10 Nov. Dmitrov (RUS) Czech Rep. - Russia 4-0
Standings: 1. Czech Rep. 12, 2. Russia 8, 3. Finland 7, 4. Switzerland 2, 5. Germany 1
Six Nations Tournament in Slovakia
6 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Slovakia - France 4-1
6 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Hungary - China 5-0
7 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Norway - Slovakia 3-2
7 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Denmark - China 5-0
8 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Norway - France 1-6
8 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Hungary - Denmark 3-1
9 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Norway - China 4-2
9 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) Slovakia - Denmark 0-4
9 Nov. Michalovce (SVK) France - Hungary 2-3
Standings: 1. Hungary, 2. France, 3. Denmark, 4. Slovakia, 5. Norway, 6. China
Other games:
9 Nov. Neumarkt (ITA) Italy - Austria 0-1 SO
10 Nov. Neumarkt (ITA) Italy - Austria 2-1 SO

Women's U18 Events

Series in Sweden
7 Nov. Enkoping (SWE) Sweden - Finland 3-2 OT
8 Nov. Enkoping (SWE) Sweden - Finland 1-2
9 Nov. Enkoping (SWE) Sweden - Finland 4-1
Four Nations Tournament in Italy
7 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Slovakia - Hungary 5-4 SO
7 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Italy - Denmark 3-0
8 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Denmark - Slovakia 2-3
8 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Hungary - Italy 3-2
9 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Hungary - Denmark 1-2
9 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Italy - Slovakia 2-3
Standings: 1. Slovakia 8, 2. Hungary 4, 3. Italy 3, 4. Denmark 3
Four Nations Tournament in Great Britain
8 Nov. Dumfries (GBR) Spain - Great Britain 0-3
8 Nov. Dumfries (GBR) Iceland Sr - Poland 1-7
9 Nov. Dumfries (GBR) Spain - Poland 3-4 SO
9 Nov. Dumfries (GBR) Great Britain - Iceland Sr 4-3
10 Nov. Dumfries (GBR) Spain - Iceland Sr 6-5 SO
10 Nov. Dumfries (GBR) Poland - Great Britain 2-4
Standings: 1. Great Britain 9, 2. Poland 5, 3. Spain 3, 4. Iceland 1