After each team lost their first two games in the Final Olympic Qualification Group C in Chomutov, both Norway and Poland were looking to finish on a high note and both did to varying degrees. Norway earned a 7-1 victory while Poland returns home with its most respectable result.
“I’m very pleased with how we played here this week,” said Polish coach Ivan Bednar. “We knew what we were coming into when we qualified for this group, and that it was going to be a difficult task and I think we handled the situation well.”
Mathea Fischer led Norway’s offence with two goals and two assists.
Thea Jorgensen opened the scoring at 5:42, sending a low shot that may have been tipped through the legs of Polish goalie Martyna Sass. Just 53 seconds later it was 2-0 when Andrea Dalen sent a pass in front to a wide-open Fischer, who made no mistake.
The Poles had five shots on goal in the first period but that didn’t include their best scoring chance, which was a shot off the stick of captain Karolina Pozniewska that hit the crossbar on the power play.
Norway added two more goals in the second period. The first came a minute into the period when Line Bialik did a nice reverse and fed Fischer, who sent a looping shot that dipped under the glove of Sass. A short time later, Sass was relieved by Agata Kosinska, who made her second appearance of the tournament.
At 31:01, a shot from the point by Lene Tendenes was stopped by Kosinska but Madelen Haug Hansen was right there to put in the rebound and make it 4-0. Just 34 seconds after scoring, however, Haug Hansen was assessed a major penalty for elbowing following an incident in front of the Norewgian bench.
Poland stuck early on the five-minute power play when Pozniewska fed Ewelina Czarnecka, who fired a wrister upstairs in her 100th career game for the Polish national team. Despite more than four more minute on the advantage, however, Poland could come no closer.
“She plays for my team in Slovakia,” Bednar said about Czarnecka. “It’s really good to have an experienced player like that.”
To begin the third period, Norway once again scored early. This time it was Haug Hansen crossing into the Polish zone and dropping a pass to Bialik, who fired it home after 38 seconds had passed. With just under eight minutes to play, Andrine Furulund converted a rebound to make it 6-1.
Right after the sixth Norwegian goal, Poland’s Wiktoria Sikorska had a great chance in alone on Linnea Holterud Olsson but was stopped on her backhand attempt.
Dalen rounded out the scoring by scoring on a breakaway with 1:34 to play.