All women on ice
by Martin Merk|19 AUG 2021
Opening face-off between host Canada and Finland.
photo: Martin Merk
After the third negative test since arriving in Calgary all teams were cleared to play pre-competition games on Wednesday, two days before start of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

USA vs. ROC 6-0 (2-0, 1-0, 3-0)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a women’s national team from North America play a European counterpart due to the pandemic but some things didn’t change during that time. Team USA stays a class of its own against most European teams.

Brianna Decker opened the scoring after already 36 seconds and with 55 seconds left in the opening frame Hayley Scamurra doubled the American lead after capitalizing on another turnover. The Americans continued to dominate in the second period in which a hard shot from Caroline Harvey made it into the net for the 3-0 goal. Two goals within a span of 2:14 early in the third period from Kelly Pannek and Savannah Harmon as well as Decker’s second marker of the day let Team USA to a 6-0 win.

The Americans outshot ROC 48-15 with Alex Cavallini and Nicole Hensley sharing the shutout.

Germany vs. Denmark 4-3 (0-1, 3-1, 0-1, 0-0, 1-0) SO

Before Denmark’s return to the top-level Women’s Worlds in almost three decades the red-and-white team challenged neighbouring Germany in a pre-competition game and wanted to be more than the underdog. At 4:16 and ten seconds into the first power play of the game captain Josefine Jakobsen gave her team the early lead.

After killing two penalties in the middle frame the Germans staged their comeback with goals from Julia Zorn and Marie Delarbre just 27 seconds apart but the Danes didn’t give up. Jakobsen scored her second goal at 12:15 of the period. And when Germany regained the lead on a Carina Strobel PP goal, Julie Oksbjerg tied it up in the third.

Germany outshot Denmark 31-22 throughout the game and earned the win by claiming the shootout 2-1.

Canada vs. Finland 4-1 (1-1, 0-0, 3-0)

The last time these teams met at the Women’s Worlds Finland surprisingly eliminated Canada in the semi-finals in 2019. And the next time they meet will be on Friday to open the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. Therefore the Canadian players were happy to set the tone their way in another tight game between these nations.

First, however, it was the Finns who netted the puck with a Sofianna Sundelin marker at 6:12. Penalty trouble in the opening frame didn’t make it easy for the Canadians but Natalie Spooner tied it up for the host nation.

Although Canada outshot the Finns 44-16 in the game, the 1-1 tie remained for more than half of the game until Emily Clark scored the game-winning goal at 10:23 of the third period.

Already having a 5-on-3 power play, the Finns pulled goaltender Meeri Raisanen for a sixth skater but to no avail. Marie-Philip Poulin and Emma Maltais scored into the empty net for the 4-1 win.

Japan vs. Hungary 4-2 (2-0, 2-2, 0-0)

Japan beat first-time top-level Women’s Worlds participant 4-2 but despite outshooting their opponent it wasn’t that easy.

Two goals from Rui Ukita and one from Chiho Osawa gave the Japanese a 3-0 lead until early in the middle frame but the Hungarians came close.

35 seconds after the third Hungarian goal Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi scored on a power play and at 12:45 of the middle frame another PP goal from Mira Seregely brought Hungary back within one goal. Akane Shiga scored the 4-2 goal late in the second period.

Czech Republic vs. Switzerland 2-4 (1-0, 0-3, 1-1)

In the only game between teams from different groups, higher-seeded Switzerland came back from a deficit to beat the Czech Republic 4-2.

Denisa Krizova gave the Czechs the early lead thanks to a shorthanded goal but the Swiss had a strong second period in which they outshot the Czechs 11-7 and more importantly scored three unanswered goals from Nadine Hofstetter, Alina Marti and Noemi Ryhner.

The Czechs, who had a 24-21 shot-on-goal advantage during 60 minutes, gave it all in the third period but didn’t get more than one other goal from Alena Mills. Ryhner with her second marker of the night scored into the empty net with three seconds left to seal the win.