Czechs capture Group B
by Erin Brown|11 JAN 2023
Barbora Jurickova (left) scored two of Czechia's three power play goals.
photo: Andrea Cardin / IIHF
Barbora Jurickova scored two power play goals as Czechia defeated Slovakia 4-3 in their final game of round-robin play.

Juricova's first tally came late in the first period which gave Czechia the lead for good. She struck again midway into the third period to give the Czechs a comfortable two-goal lead.

"Those were very important goals," Czechia coach Dusan Andrasovsky said. "She got two scores and the second line played well today."

The Czech power play finished 3-for-6 and netminder Michaela Hesova made with 17 saves for her third win.

"I think the power plays were the key to this game," Hesova said. "That is what tipped the scales a little bit. I'm glad that we managed to get those three in because sometimes power plays aren't our strongest thing, but I'm glad that we got those three in."

Czechia finished atop Group B with nine points. Slovakia placed seconds with six. The teams now await the result of Wednesday afternoon's Finland-Sweden match to determine who they will face in the quarterfinals.

Nela Lopusanova recorded a goal and an assist for Slovakia. She now has nine points (six goals, three assists) in three games.

"I always try to keep an eye on her the whole game," Hesova said of Lopusanova. "I was watching her yesterday when she scored a hat trick. She's really talented. It's always tough to have these players playing against you, but you just got to keep an eye out on her. And I think except for a couple of like exceptions, we managed that."
Czechia vs Slovakia - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship
CZE SVK 11 JAN 2023
Slovakia struggled to gain momentum in the first period as they were called for four penalties. Three of four infractions came in a stretch of 1:31 and included a 5-on-3 for 86 seconds. And Czechia capitalized.

Adela Sapovalivova opened the scoring with a power play goal 3:17 into the contest. With Slovakia's Laura Jancsoova in the penalty box for tripping, Sapovalivova carried the puck into the offensive zone. Then, using Anezka Cabelova as a screen, fired a wrist shot from the low slot under Livia Debnarova's glove to make it 1-0.

Slovakia tied the game on Lopusanova's second shorthanded goal of the tournament midway through the first period. Just 16 seconds into Czechia's power play, the 14-year-old stripped the puck from defender Eliska Hotova at the blue line, skated in on a breakaway and beat Hesova with a backhand between the goalie's pad and right post.

The Czechs regained the lead on the same power play 15 seconds later when Jurickova scored her first goal of the night. She collected a pass near the bottom of the right circle and wristed it past Debnarova. The tally ultimately put Czechia ahead for good.

"It was hard bouncing back from the penalties," Slovakia defender Lily Stern said. "We managed to not get scored on on the 5-on-3, which is really good, but it was just hard to bounce back and get into the rhythm of the game. The same in the third. The second was very clean."

Hotova atoned for earlier mishap at 15:37 of the second period to extend Czechia's lead to 3-1. Her shot from the left point arced over Debnarova's right shoulder and just inside the near-side post.

The Slovaks attempted a comeback in the third, scoring early in the period. Tatiana Blichova cut the deficit to 3-2 at 5:38, jamming in a loose puck from the right side of the net.

Czechia regained the two-goal advantage at 11:25, when Jurickova's shot from the bottom of the right circle went  into the far, top corner.

Lopusanova set up captain Zuzana Dobiasova in front of the net with 1:26 to play, bringing Slovakia back within a goal. But the Slovaks could not get one more to force overtime.

Despite the loss, Slovakia advances to the quarterfinals for the second straight season. And unlike in 2022, the Slovaks won't have to face powerhouse Canada, which dominated in a 7-0 win and outshot them 65-5.

"This game was obviously really hard and we're all just really tired," Stern said. "Our biggest priority right now is just relaxing and putting our legs up."

The same for Czechia, who improved to 4-0 all-time in the series between the rivals.

Illness made its way through Czechia's roster before their arrival. Andrasovsky said he has seen improvement game-to-game, but also knows there is another level to his team's play which has yet to be seen despite the success.

"I would like to see a good game and play the way we want, not just only in the result," he said. "I know that all of them can be better. There is still something missing, but I think it's (mental), it's power, it's from the illness, I think."
Czechia vs Slovakia - 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship