Players to watch
by Erin Brown|07 JAN 2023
Czechia's Adela Sapovalivova ranked second in scoring at the 2022 IIHF U18 Women's World Championship with nine points in five games.
photo: Chris Tanouye / IIHF
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With teams having returned to normalcy following pauses due to COVID-19, a clearer picture of future national team stars are starting to emerge. Nearly every squad returns a number of players who took part in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, but a couple newcomers are sure to have an impact well.

IIHF.com takes a look at a player from each squad worth focusing on as round-robin play begins Sunday at noon:

Jocelyn Amos, F (Canada)
Amos' first goal on the international stage delivered a gold medal for the Canadians in a 3-2 win over the United States in 2022. Since then, her offensive game has only grown. The native of Ailsa Craig, Ontario contributed five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game series against the Americans in August. The Ohio State commit currently leads her London Devilettes teammates with 34 points (21 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games. Those numbers place the sniper among the top five in scoring of the Ontario Women's Hockey Association U22 Elite level.

Livia Debnarova, G (Slovakia)
Debnarova saw limited ice time in her 2020 U18 debut, but saw a seasons's worth of action. The 16-year-old backstopped her squad in a crucial 6-2 win over Germany which lifted Slovakia to its first U18 quarterfinals appearances. While her final numbers were not necessarily eye-popping, there is a valid reason -- she earned the start against Canada, a 7-0 loss. But she faced 134 shot attempts, 65 of which got through her defense. She currently leads goaltenders as a rookie in the European Women's Hockey League with a 1.58 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 10 games with SKP Bratislava.

Joy Dunne, F (United States)
Hailing from a long lineage of hockey players, Dunne will make her debut as captain for Team USA. At 5-foot, 11-inches, Dunne is the Americans' tallest skater yet boasts a great deal of speed. Scouts praise her high hockey IQ and skill — she is not just a north-south winger, but one who can make plays and see the ice well. The O'Fallon, Missouri native is a member of the St. Louis Lady Blues, but has also skated for the club's 16U AAA boys team, registering 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 20 games last year. "She has progressed a lot over the last couple months," one scout said. "She's going to be a pretty fun player to watch this week."

Margaux Favre, G (Switzerland)
At 5-foot, 10-inches, it is difficult to miss Favre, but her play is eye-opening as well. She returns for her final appearance at the U18 level and her stellar defense will be needed more than ever with the Swiss experiencing  significant turnover this year. Favre finished the 2022 tournament with a stellar .915 save percentage and 1.76 goals-against average as the Swiss avoided relegation. This season she has backstopped Bulle La Gruy√®re in Switzerland, facing boys which she says has helped elevate her game even more.

Jenna Raunio, D (Sweden)
The 16-year-old returns to the Swedish blue line after a successful debut in 2022, where she provided a memorable strike with 7.8 seconds left in a 4-3 round-robin win over Finland. Through 20 games with HV71 of the SDHL, the 5-foot-8 defender has three goals and seven assists. Her hard, pro-like slap shot gives the Swedes a formidable threat from the blue line.

Adela Sapovalivova, F (Czechia)
Sapovalivova has already earned praise for playing beyond her years. The 16-year-old emerged on the world stage in June, finishing second among all scorers at the 2022 tournament with nine points (three goals, six assists) in five games. Two months later, she skated on Czechia top line at the Women's World Championship in Denmark. The former speed skater with playmaking vision and a dangerous shot finished with a respectable four points (three goals, one assist) in seven games to help the Czechs to their first-ever international medal, a bronze.

Kohane Sato, D (Japan)
The Japanese, who return to the top level for the first time since 2019 expect to heavily rely on the 16-year-old defender. She plays much bigger than her 5-foot-4 frame might suggest, always willing to get physical. Scouts love her hard shot from the blue line and her ability to possess the puck and control the game very well.

Sanni Vanhanen, F (Finland)
Already a seasoned veteran for the Finnish national team, Vanhanen will make her final appearance at the U18 level. The dynamic pivot had a slow start to her 2022 campaign with just three assists in her first five games. But she provided all the goals in Finland's 3-0 victory over rival Sweden in the bronze-medal game. Since then she has made her full-time Naisten Liiga debut with HIFK and has posted 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 14 games.