Day 4: WW-I-A
by Andrew Podnieks|23 AUG 2023
China's win tonight takes the team one step closer to promotion for 2024.
photo: IIHF / CIHA
Some clarity emerged with today's results, but still everything is up in the air. China sits alone in first place with 9 points, promotion so close...but not yet there. Austria and Netherlands are next with 6 points, Denmark and Norway 3, and Slovakia, with no points in three games, are in last, trying to avoid relegation.

Norway 4-Slovakia 2
Norway rallied with the only three goals of the third period to earn a critical win in the first game of the day, moving out of last place with their first W of the tournament. The Slovaks, still without a point, remain winless at 0-3 and are in evermore danger of being relegated. Andrea Dalen had three assists for the winners, who got goals from four players. Two goals from Emilie Kruse and captain Mathea Fischer just 28 seconds apart early in the third turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. They added a power-play goal in the final minute to assure the win.

Norway got on the board late in the first period when Thea Jorgensen knocked in a loose puck from the side of the net, but Slovakia came out and played their best 20 minutes in the second, scoring twice while holding a 14-4 shots advantage. They tied the game at 5:12 after some sustained pressure in the Norway end. Simone Martina Bednarik got the puck at the point, and her wrister fooled a screened Linnea Holterud Olsson and drifted into the top of the net. It was their first goal of the tournament after being shut out for the first 145:12.

Tatiana Korenkova gave Slovakia their first lead of the tournament later in the period just after a power play chance had expired. Holterud Olsson lost Laura Sulikova’s point shot in a pile of players in front, and Korenkova banged in the loose puck before the goalie knew what had happened.

But the Norwegians stormed out to start the third to wrest control of the game. They tied it at 4:14 on the power play with a goal similar to Korenkova’s. Goalie Andrea Risianova made the initial stop, but Kruse got to the rebound first. On the next shift, Norway’s forechecking created the go-ahead goal when Dalen spotted Fischer to the back side and fed her a perfect pass. The captain didn’t miss, restoring Norway’s lead and sending the team on its way to a critical victory.

Netherlands 2-Austria 1
Captain Savine Wielenga and Bieke van Nes each had a goal and assist to lead the Netherlands to a 2-1 win over Austria. Van Nes’s goal came late in the third to give the Dutch their second win in three games (2-1) and move them temporarily into a first-place tie with Austria (also 2-1) and China (2-0, playing the late game). The two goals were the first surrendered by Austrian goalie Selma Luggin in the tournament.

Although it was a close game start to finish, one could argue Austria lost the game in the first period when they had a whopping 9:16 of power-play time and outshot the Netherlands 10-2 but couldn’t put a single puck past Eline Gabriele, making her third straight start. The Dutch opened the scoring at 7:23 of the second thanks to a sensational pass from van Nes to Wielenga at the Austrian blue line, She went in alone and was stopped by Luggin but managed to poke in the rebound. It was Wielenga’s third goal of the tournament of her team’s five total goals, and the first goal given up by Luggin after an impressive shutout streak of 147:23.

Eight minutes later, Charlotte Wittich tied the game off a nice feed from behind the net by captain Anna Meixner. Wittich made no mistake with the quick shot, beating Gabriele to the short side. Austria killed off two penalties the rest of the way, and overtime seemed a real possibility when van Nes tipped in an Emily Even point shot on the power play with just 4:37 remaining, sending the Austrians to their first defeat in the tournament.

China 4-Denmark 2
Hosts China scored three goals in the opening period en route to an impressive and important 4-2 win over Denmark tonight in Shenzen. The win keeps China perfect with a 3-0 record, first in the standings, and goes a long way to rewarding them with one of two promotion spots up for grabs. With the loss, the Danes drop to 1-2 and are fourth in the standings. All teams have two games remaining.

The Chinese started like a house on fire, opening the scoring at 1:53 on a quick shot by Yingying Guan. They had a great chance to double their lead a short time later when Denmark defender Sofie Skott tripped Minghui Kong on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot. Kong, however, was stopped nicely by Emma-Sofie Nordstrom to keep it a 1-0 game.

The Danes had their best chance of the period when Silke Glud walked in and wired a shot off the crossbar behind Tiya Chen (Tiya Chan), but China doubled their lead at 12:31 when Amanda Refsgaard lost the puck behind her goal. Mengying Zhang was right there and got the puck to Jiaxin Wang in front. The backbreaker for the Danes was a goal with just 6.1 seconds left in the period, Xifang Zhang (Anna Segedi) finishing a play started by Mulan Kang (Kas Betinol) to make it 3-0.

Denmark responded with a strong start in the middle period, scoring at 3:18 off a quick shot by captain Nicoline Jensen. China ran into some penalty trouble later in the period, taking the only three minors, but Chen was rock solid when she had to be.

China made it 4-1 at 13:04 of the third on a 2-on-1. Xin Fang's shot was stopped by Nordstrom, but she lost it in her equipment and the puck trickled over the line. Jensen replied with her second of the game a minute later when her pass in front went off a skate and in, cutting the China lead to two. That was as close as the Danes came.

Today’s Three Stars
*Andrea Dalen (NOR, 3 assists in first win)
**Bieke van Nes (NED, goal, assist in crucial win)
***Tiya Chen (CHN, big saves in 2nd when it mattered)

UP NEXT: Norway-Netherlands (13.00 local), Slovakia-Denmark (16.30), Austria-China (20.00)