While Germany bested Czechia in a pre-tournament exhibition game on 23 August, winning 3-2, Czechia won their preliminary round match-up to extend their perfect record in Frederikshavn to 3-0.
Czechia used two power plays to open scoring in the first period, starting with a penalty called on Theresa Wagner for tripping Adela Sapovalivova. The dangerous line of Sapovalivova, Katerina Mrazova and Natalie Mlynkova, as well as Czechia’s top defence pairing of Daniela Pejsova and Dominika Laskova, continued to demonstrate their ability to dominate the play. One minute into the power play, Pejsova passed from the point to Sapovalivova, who scored blocker side on Sandra Abstreiter.
Czechia needed just nine seconds to score on the power play when Germany took another tripping penalty a few minutes later. After a shot on net from Mrazova crossed the crease along the goal line, Mlynkova jumped on the loose puck to send it into the net. Germany managed just four shots in the first, with Czechia heading to the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
"Something that [head coach Carla MacLeod] brings to the team is to be aggressive in to the net," said Laskova, who now has six assists. While she has always played defence for Czechia, Laskova was a forward with Merrimack College in the NCAA, which she says has helped turn her into an offensive defender. "Our culture is more like skating it around, doing a crossover then a cross in the corner, but then we find that we don’t score at all. Our coach wants us to shoot and go more to the net, which is something we are working on."
"I love how skilled the players are and how they use their skill for the team," Mills said of the aspect of her team that she's most proud of. "It’s not used for individual gain, it’s just for the team gain. I love watching it and I love being a part of it, it’s just great."
Germany was unable to get any shots through to Czech goalie Klara Peslarova in the second period, with the Czechs maintaining possession.
Both teams switched out their goaltenders for the third period, with Franziska Albl taking over for Germany and Blanka Skodova taking over for Czechia. Klara Hymlarova scored Czechia's final goal.
"We just need to forget that game, we need to be focused on tomorrow," said German captain Daria Gleissner. "Our team’s a really new team. We have so many young players and we are a pretty mixed team. We have to stay together. What happened, happened. We need to be together until the end."
As for that Czech goal song? Mills said that Hymlarova is the one who should get credit for it.
"We were on a bus ride coming here, we flew all day. We’re 40 minutes from here and all of a sudden she started going crazy on the bus and she started playing different songs and this really caught on. It was great because everybody was singing it on the bus and everybody gets going on the bench."
Czechia remains at the top of Group B, while Germany sits at the bottom with one point. Both teams have one game remaining in the preliminary round, and Czechia has their eye on collecting another win.
"Tomorrow it’s obviously the most important game for us because we want to go in the quarterfinals from the first position," said Laskova. "We definitely are going to just build off of what we did today and try to do the same thing we did in the past three games."