Czechs stay perfect
by Andrew Podnieks|25 AUG 2021
Germany's Franziska Albl #95 tracks the puck after the shot from Czech Republic's Michaela Pejzlova #18 while Dominika Laskova #14 battles with Tabea Botthof #21.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
For the second time in as many Women’s World tournaments the Czechs have finished the Group B preliminary round with a perfect 4-0 record. They completed their schedule tonight with an impressive 2-0 victory over Germany, and as a result finish first in the group to face one of Finland, Switzerland, or ROC in the quarter-finals.

The Germans will now finish second or third in the group, 7th or 8th overall, and will face either Canada or the United States in the quarters. Pick your poison. They have one last game tomororw night against Japan.

"I think we played really well two days ago and again today," said Dominka Laskova, who had both goals for the winners. "In the first two games we weren't too happy with how we played, even though we won. We knew we could play better. We've taken a big step from the start of the tournament to right now. We're happy with where we are."

Goaltender Klara Peslarova picked up her fourth straight win and is now 7-0-1 in the last two years. Franziska Albl made her first career start at the Women's Worlds and was sensational for the Germans.

"We talked about having back-to-back games, so we decided to start Franziska. She played really very well," said Germany's coach Thomas Schadler. "Our defence was okay today. We battled hard and blocked shots, but we didn't have many scoring chances of our own. We have to work on that tomorrow."

"Of course, it was disappointing," added Tanja Eisenschmid. "We worked really hard off the hop, but we were lacking in the offensive zone. That effectively brought on the loss. The Czechs were moving their feet well and played aggressively, always on the puck. That made it difficult for us because it felt like we were always trying to win the puck back."
Czech Republic vs Germany - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship
CZE GER 25 AUG 2021
Teams swapped four penalties in the first, but it wasn’t until the last of these, against Germany, that the game really got going. Midway through the frame, with the extra skater, the Czechs perked up and created several great scoring chances, only to be stymied by Albl and, on one occasion, the post. Noemi Neubauerova was alone in front and redirected a pass, only to see it hit the post and carom into the corner.

Soon after, the Czechs had their best chance of the period after a turnover and collision at their blue line, when the same Neubauerova lost control of the puck and allowed Marie Delarbre to race the length of the ice unhindered. Her shot, however, was stopped by Peslarova, as she showed why she had a 3-0 record and .935 save percentage coming into the game. 

The Czechs thoroughly dominated the middle 20 minutes, limiting Germany to a single shot on goal. Their own offence started with another great chance from Neubauerova, who was again foiled by Albl. But they opened the scoring at 4:28 after a faceoff win in the German end. Vendula Pribylova passed it over to a wide open Laskova, and she wired a shot high to the short side over Albl’s glove for a 1-0 lead.

"It was a set play that we work on," Laskova described. "I got a nice pass and saw an opening. I needed a bit of time to relax and then hit the spot."

Albl kept her team in the game the rest of the period, foiling Katerina Mrazova with another gem of a pad save. Neubauerova had a breakaway a little later, but she lost control of the puck on the deke and it rolled into the corner without Albl having to make a save.

Albl was again razor sharp in the third early on as Natalie Mlynkova burst through the middle and went in on goal, only to be stopped by the goalie when she deked and fell to the ice. Midway through, though, the Czechs finally got another puck by Albl. Neubauerova drove hard to the net on the rush, and although Albl held her ground the puck squirted free and Laskova pushed it over the goal line for her fourth goal of the tournament, tying her with teammate Alena Mills for topscorer to date.

"I think the turning point for us was the game against Hungary," Czech coach Tomas Pacina explained of his team's play in the preliminary round. "We felt we didn't play very well and we let them into the game. The girls repsonded well after that game. We felt against Japan we played 40 complete minutes and today we played 50 complete minutes. We definitely believe in the quarter-finals we'll play 60 complete minutes."
Czech Republic vs Germany - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship