10 striking statistics from Women’s Worlds
by Lucas Aykroyd|10 NOV 2021
U.S. defender Lee Stecklein smashed her personal bests with a tournament-high seven points – just one of the noteworthy numbers from the 2021 Women's Worlds.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
share
The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship is in the rear-view mirror now. National teams are hurtling down the hockey highway toward the 2022 Olympics. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look back and pick out 10 striking statistics from these Women’s Worlds.

Time and distance provide perspective. This also helps hockey observers suss out what could unfold in Beijing in February. So let’s get this show on the road.

1) Rattray Provides Quantity in “Quality Time”

For Canada to win the gold medal for the first time since 2012 – and break a home-ice Women’s Worlds drought dating back to Winnipeg in 2012 – wasn’t totally unforeseeable. However, it’s striking that forward Jamie Lee Rattray contributed as much as she did (4+1=5) in Calgary with such limited ice time.

The gritty former Markham Thunder star, who won the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Award with Clarkson, averaged just 9:21 per game – the second-lowest ice time among all Canadian forwards. But here’s another shocker: it’s exactly the same ice time as Rattray averaged with the 2019 bronze-medal team in Espoo, where she had even more points (3+3=6).
Considering how Rattray, 29, rose to the occasion this year, with three of her four goals coming against the archrival Americans, it’ll be fascinating to monitor how coach Troy Ryan manages her minutes at Beijing’s Wukesong Sports Centre.

2) Big Names Total Zero Goals

For Finland’s bronze-medal team, Michelle Karvinen – who led the 2014 Olympics in goals and points (5+2=7) and remains the SDHL’s all-time points-per-game leader among players with 50 or more career games (2.06) – did not score a goal (0+6=6).

The Czech Republic’s Tereza Vanisova, whose five goals tied U.S. superstar Kendall Coyne Schofield for tops at the 2017 Women’s Worlds, also never lit the red light in Calgary (0+3=3).

Some celebrated NCAA talents of the 2010s were also blanked. The U.S.’s Amanda Kessel, a 2018 Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion, set up Alex Carpenter effectively, but couldn’t replicate her three-goal contribution from 2019 and settled for silver (0+4=4).

Canada’s Victoria Bach is the career goals and points leader for Boston University, but that didn’t translate into goals in the 25-year-old’s Women’s Worlds debut (0+2=2).

These players, of course, weren’t alone in their offensive struggles, but you do expect to see more goal-scoring out of them come February.

3) Where Have All the PP Goals Gone?

Remember the old Nintendo slogan, “Now you’re playing with power”? That sure didn’t apply back in August. Canada captured the gold medal with just four power-play goals (4-for-27, 14.81 percent). Based on recent history, the Team USA’s struggles were even more surprising (3-for-24, 12.5 percent). Arguably, even the Czech Republic, which paced the tournament (5-for-24, 20.83 percent), didn’t fully achieve its potential with the woman advantage.

Especially for the North Americans, this is a by-product of the pandemic, which limited opportunities to practise power play systems. With teams centralizing, we’ll likely see more PPG in the Chinese capital.

4) Not Exactly The Rocket’s Red Glare

For NHL fans, Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin’s 3-2 golden goal versus the U.S. in the 2021 final evoked memories of Patrick Kane’s sudden-death goal that gave the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 finals.
Both these star forwards celebrated scoring well before the officials recognized that the puck had gone in. In Poulin’s case, an off-ice video review while the play continued was required to confirm that her lightning release off the rush, set up by Brianne Jenner, had gone top shelf at 7:22 of overtime.

What really makes this weird is that in Calgary, not one but two Canadian goals against the U.S. went in and out so fast that they weren’t counted right away. In the round-robin, Sarah Nurse got Canada’s fifth goal shorthanded just past the midway point of a 5-1 romp. Again, a video review revealed the truth.

5) Harvey’s Vanishing Ice Time

In the 1950 movie Harvey, an eccentric man tries to navigate life with an invisible best friend who is a giant rabbit. In 2021, rookie U.S. defender Caroline Harvey, who played 18:59 and had a plus-minus of -1 in the 5-1 round-robin loss to Canada, saw her ice time virtually vanish in the gold medal game, playing just 8:33.

This recalled Swedish coach Rikard Gronborg’s decision to give Olympic rookie blueliner Rasmus Dahlin just 2:59 in the stunning 4-3 overtime loss to Germany in 2018.

With Harvey, the natural explanation would be that U.S. coach Joel Johnson was looking to shelter the gifted 18-year-old high schooler – a product of the Boston-area North American Hockey Academy – against the physically dominant Canadians. Still, the move came out of nowhere, given that Harvey logged 18:01 alongside assistant captain Lee Stecklein in the 3-0 semi-final win over Finland.

Unrelated: in the future, Harvey would like to become a veterinarian. So she may end up caring for rabbits of the visible variety.

6) Jobst-Smith’s Expanding Ice Time

When you look at the 2021 Women’s Worlds ice time leaders, it’s unsurprising to see Jenni Hiirikoski, the Finnish captain and a perennial Best Defender candidate, comfortably atop the list. But having Germany’s Nina Jobst-Smith in fourth place (23:31) is an eye-opener.
Jobst-Smith made her Women’s Worlds debut at age 19. The British-born, Vancouver-raised rearguard, coming off her first NCAA season with Minnesota-Duluth, wasn’t far from home in the Calgary bubble. She has three passports – her mother Jessica hails from Germany – and evidently she’s earned the confidence of national team coach Thomas Schadler. When Germany lost 3-2 to the ROC team in its last game, Jobst-Smith peaked at 28:32.

7) Stecklein’s Stunning Offensive Outburst

Two-time Olympian Lee Stecklein has always been a defensive stalwart with great wheels, and the five-time world champion is a key member of the U.S. leadership group. Yet the towering 27-year-old Minnesotan hasn’t always piled up the points.

In fact, prior to the 2021 Women’s Worlds, Stecklein had just two goals and nine assists in 25 career tournament games. So for her to lead all defenders in scoring (2+5=7) en route to Best Defender and all-star team honours was unprecedented. It was a bright spot for the Americans, who went home disappointed after their dynasty ended.

8) Dusterhoft’s Strange Sin Bin Excess

German blueliner Lena Dusterhoft’s tournament-leading 27 penalty minutes was well shy of the all-time record set by Xueting Qi in 2009 (35).

It basically boiled down to a bad decision when Canada thrashed Germany 7-0 in the quarter-finals. In the first minute of the third period, the 25-year-old Munich native plastered Canada’s Renata Fast into the boards from behind and was ejected with a five-minute major and game misconduct.

So what was so strange here? In her three previous Women’s Worlds (2015, 2017, 2019) and up to this point, Dusterhoft had never taken a single penalty! She’d add a roughing minor when the Russians beat Germany 3-2.

9) Swiss Finish Fourth Despite Goal-Scoring Drought

After the Swiss were outscored 17-1 in four Group A games, their chances of playing for a medal looked about as good as a jellyfish’s chances of climbing the Matterhorn. Especially as their lone goal in the 3-1 round-robin loss to the ROC team came from now-injured sniper Alina Muller.
Yet when Laura Zimmermann scored in sudden-death overtime for a 3-2 comeback win over ROC in the quarter-finals, anything became possible. For coach Colin Muller’s team to come fourth despite totalling just five goals on 110 shots will remain a true oddity in Women’s Worlds history.

10) New High in Tournament Shutouts

A whopping 15 out of the 31 games (48.3 percent) in Calgary featured shutouts. That’s a new tournament record and a tribute to the increasing quality of goaltending in women’s hockey.

The previous record was set in Winnipeg in 2007 (13 shutouts) in a 20-game tournament. That year, Kazakhstan’s woes inflated the total. The Kazakhs were outscored 26-0 through four games, making them the only Women’s Worlds squad ever to be completely blanked.