U18 women’s teams back on ice
by Martin Merk|19 NOV 2021
Finnish forward Pauliina Salonen scored two goals against Sweden and could play her second IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship after the 2020 edition.
photo: Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images
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It’s 50 days to go until the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in Sweden and several of the participating teams used the November break to test against other nations.

Last year many of the programs were not operating due to Covid-19 restrictions in amateur and junior hockey. The comeback to international exhibition games was thus a welcome change for the young players that are the future of women’s hockey and for most it was the first international game ever, for others the first since the last U18 Women’s Worlds in 2020.

While many of the top teams didn’t cross the border, Finland and Sweden held exhibition games at the Finnish team’s base in Kuortane that ended with two wins in three games for the home team.

The Swedes opened the scoring in the first game with a Mira Markstrom goal at 10:12. Finland’s lionesses got stronger and outshot their opponent 24-15 but the only other goal was an empty-netter from Emma Pfeffer with 3:04 left to play.

The Finnish forwards eventually succeeded in the second game already in the early minutes. Moona Keskisarja hit the back of the net at 3:43 and just over two minutes later Adalmiina Makkonen made it 2-0. The period ended with an Oona Havana power-play goal. Pauliina Salonen added another PP marker midway the second period for the final score of 4-0.

Finnish goaltender Emilia Kyrkko also had a shutout the day after with a total of 39 saves in two games as Finland edged Sweden 2-0. Tilli Keranen broke a scoreless tie midway the game and Salonen added her second marker of the series on a power play at 3:25 of the third frame.

WW18 hockey in four venues

Two more top-division teams were involved in the Four Nations Tournament in Radenthein, Austria where the Czechs were a class of their own beating Norway 13-2, Austria 12-0 and top-division rival Germany 6-1. Barbora Jurickova impressed with 10 points (4+6) from three games followed by her teammate Tereza Plosova with eight (2+6). Eliska Hotova, Nicol Prihodova and Tereza Pistekova also scored four goals.

Germany finished the event in second place with a 1-0 win against neighbouring rival Austria thanks to the late game-winner from Katharina Hackelsmiller. In the last game the Germans beat Norway 4-1. After Suphattra Chaiyasan had brought Norway on the scoreboard at 11:14 the Germans reacted with four unanswered goals. Annabella Sterzik tied it up 13 seconds later followed by a power-play goal form Hackelsmiller late in the period, Sterzik’s second goal in the middle frame and an empty-netter from Lola Liang.

The tournament was also a test for teams that play outside the top division too. Norway, promoted to the Division IA, finished in third place thanks to a 4-1 win against Austria. The Austrians play one tier below in the Division IB and the tournament was a test both on and off the ice as the venue in Radenthein will host the six-team IIHF event in January.

The Division IA will take place in Gyor, Hungary, which was the venue of a three-team tournament last week with all three teams coming back in January. Hungary won it thanks to one-goal wins against France and Italy. The French claimed second place beating Italy 5-2.

Further below in the IIHF ranking the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik was host of a Four Nations Tournament with a surprise winner as third-seeded Spain beat the favourites from Great Britain (4-0) and Poland (4-3) as well as Iceland (8-0). Haizea Fernandez de Romarategi scored two goals including the game-winner in the deciding game against Poland and led the tournament in scoring with 6 points (5+1), same as her teammate Eva Aizpurua (2+4). Great Britain finished in second place after a win over Poland (2-1) and getting a fourth point in a shootout loss to Iceland on the last day.

Third-ranked Poland will play at the Division IB tournament in Radenthein while the other three teams will play in the Division II tournament in Istanbul, Turkey in January.

The IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship program grows with the first-time participation of Iceland and Latvia in Istanbul while Australia and New Zealand will be missing in this and the men’s U20 category this winter due to travel restrictions in their countries related to Covid-19.

Scores

Series in Finland
10 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland Sweden 0-2
11 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland Sweden 4-0
12 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland Sweden 2-0
 
4 Nations Tournament in Austria
12 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Norway Czech Rep. 2-13
12 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Austria Germany 0-1
13 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Germany Czech Rep. 1-6
13 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Austria Norway 1-4
14 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Germany Norway 4-1
14 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Czech Rep. Austria 12-0
 
Standings: 1. Czech Republic 9, 2. Germany 6, 3. Norway 3, 4. Austria 0
 
3 Nations Tournament in Hungary
11 Nov. Gyor (HUN) Hungary Italy 2-1
12 Nov. Gyor (HUN) France Italy 5-2
13 Nov. Gyor (HUN) Hungary France 3-2
 
Standings: 1. Hungary 6, 2. France 3, 3. Italy 0
 
4 Nations Tournament in Iceland
11 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Spain Great Britain 4-0
11 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Iceland Poland 2-3
12 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Great Britain Poland 2-1
12 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Spain Iceland 8-0
13 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Spain Poland 4-3
13 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Iceland Great Britain 2-1 SO
 
Standings: 1. Spain 9, 2. Great Britain 4, 3. Poland 3, 4. Iceland 2