Hungary HUN
26 AUG 2022
Czechia CZE
Preliminary Round
19:00Iscenter Nord
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Game details
HAACK Tijana
HILLER Samantha
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Confident start for Czechia
By Liz Montroy | 26 AUG 2022
Czechia's Adela Sapovalivova #3 celebrates her goal against Hungary.
photo: Andrea Cardin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Czechia’s 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship campaign started with a convincing 7-1 win over Hungary. Coming off of a seventh place finish in Beijing – their first ever Olympic appearance – the Czech women’s national team looked ready to contend for the top spot in Group B.

The Czechs took an early 2-0 lead, starting with a goal from St. Cloud State University’s Klara Hymlarova 1:02 into the first period. Pavlina Horalkova fed the puck across the slot to Hymlarova, who positioned herself goal side and deflected the puck across the line. Just over a minute later, defender Daniela Pejsova walked the puck in from the blue line and scored.
Hungary vs Czechia - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship
HUN CZE 26 AUG 2022
Despite Czechia’s goals, the star of the game for Hungary was goalie Aniko Nemeth, who faced 45 shots and made 38 saves. Czechia trapped Hungary in their end for much of the game, forcing Nemeth to bail out her team on several occasions.

"She played really well, she had a lot of shots, she saved a lot. We were really proud of her," Alexandra Huszak said about Nemeth. "Probably it’s not easy to stay in the net after [so many] goals, but she was there with us and she just kept us in the game."

Hungary’s first shot on net came eight minutes in, and while they couldn’t convert a late first-period penalty into a goal, captain Fanni Gasparics had an open-net opportunity that resulted in loud cheers from the Hungarian bench.

Czechia doubled their lead in the second period, taking advantage of a string of penalties called against Hungary. Emma Kreisz was penalized for slashing 29 seconds after Czechia took a penalty, cutting a Hungarian power play short and giving Czechia an opportunity to test out their abilities in a 4-on-4 situation. Defender Tereza Radova skated end to end, scoring blocker side to put Czechia up 3-0. 

"There’s been a lot of work done leading into this to try to cultivate a team feel and we understand that’s the most critical piece to finding success," said Czechia head coach Carla MacLeod on her team's confidence throughout the game. "Short term is so hard, so you’ve got to stick together as a team. I commend the group, our staff and players, for really believing in that, and I think that’s probably where our confidence was most rooted." 

Hungary survived a 5-on-3 penalty kill later in the period, but as their first player left the box, 16-year-old Czech forward Adela Sapovalivova tipped in a pass from Katerina Mrazova to increase her team’s tally to four goals.

"I had some chances in a friendly match against Germany before [Worlds]. I felt good on the ice," Sapovalivova said about scoring in her senior World Championship debut. "It was mainly because my teammates make space for me, and the chances [I had] were mainly because of them." 

It was then Hungary’s turn to capitalize on a power play. Ending the second period on a high note, Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi skated the puck into Czechia’s end on a 2-on-1 and passed across to prolific KMH Budapest goal scorer Huszak, who put the puck in the net for her first goal of the tournament. While Huszak has 29 World Championship goals to her name, this was the first goal she has scored in the top division of the World Championships, having not been named to the roster in 2021.

Keeping Hungary to just seven shots on net, Czechia’s three remaining goals came in the third period. Agata Sarnovska stripped the puck off of a Hungarian defender and shoved it towards the net, with Natalie Mlynkova jamming it in. Sapovalivova scored her second of the game, a top shelf unassisted goal, which was followed by a goal off of a wide angle shot from Sarnovska to bring the final score to 7-1.

"There’s always pieces, at the end of the day you’re never satisfied at an event like this, you have to get better every day. That’s what we were talking about in the room afterwards," said MacLeod. "It’s great to have a moment like this, and we felt we earned it, we worked hard—had to earn it, Hungary was tough and stuck with us the whole way. But short term is that: it’s one, it’s done, now move on to the next. And that’s got to be our mentality." 
Hungary vs Czechia - 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship