Czechs, Swedes win WW18 rehearsals
by Martin Merk|15 NOV 2022
Forward Petra Matejova (right, with Karolina Veverkova) was Czechia’s top scorer in the tournament win on home ice in Teplice.
photo: Micheline Veluvolu / HHOF-IIHF Images
With less than two months to go until the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in Ostersund, Sweden, several participating teams used the opportunity of last week’s International Break for the preparation against the competitors.

In Teplice, recent bronze medallist Finland played against host Czechia and recently promoted Japan.

It was a head-to-head race for top spot between the two European teams at the three-team double-round-robin tournament. They both beat Japan but had two tight battles for first place. On the opening day Finland went up 2-0 after 68 seconds of play with goals from Pauliina Salonen and Sara Suhonen but the Czechs tied the game in the opening frame with markers from Linda Vocetkova and Barbora Proskova. After an exchange of goals in the second period it was Barbora Jurickova, who scored the 4-3 game-winning goal during a 5-on-3 power play and the score wouldn’t change for the rest of the game despite Finland outshooting the hosts 37-34.

In the second game Julia Schalin’s power-play goal at 6:38 gave Finland a lead they wouldn’t give up. Finnish goalie Suvi Saarinen made 33 saves in the 1-0 shutout win. Saarinen was the only goalie in the tournament who didn’t concede a goal in two games. Second in save percentage was Daniela Novakova of Czechia with 97.67 per cent.

Tied in overall points, head-to-head points and head-to-head goals, the tournament win was to be decided in overall goal difference. Finland was ahead with a +7 goal difference after beating Japan 4-1 on Saturday but the Czechs beat Japan high enough, 8-3, in the last game on Sunday for a +9 goal difference to claim first place.

The scoring charts included several players who played at last season’s U18 Women’s Worlds. Tilli Keranen led with six points (2+4) ahead of her teammate Schalin (1+4=5) and Czech forward Petra Matejova (3+1=4). Other players who scored three goals in four games include Czech defender Klaudie Slavickova and Finnish forward Salonen. Masaki Tanabe scored two out of Japan’s four goals.

Home-ice win before home-ice Worlds for Sweden

Prior to hosting the U18 Women’s Worlds, Sweden also hosted a Four Nations Tournament in Vasby that included Sweden, the Group B teams Slovakia and Switzerland, as well as Germany, which was relegated last season.

For the Swedes, who together with Finland and the North American teams are seeded in the upper Group A next January, it was a success. They blanked Slovakia (8-0) and Germany (7-0) before playing Switzerland for top spot on the last day of the single-round-robin tournament.

The Swiss still had marginal chances coming in with only three points after a 2-0 win against Germany and a 3-2 loss to Slovakia and wouldn’t make the job easy for Sweden.

Hilda Svensson opened the scoring after 45 seconds but the Swiss tied the game with a power-play marker from Jana Peter. Jenna Raunio regained the lead for Sweden with 16 seconds left in the middle frame but the Swiss tied it up again on the PP with an Elena Gaberell goal at 11:03 of the third period. Isabelle Leijonhielm scored the game-winning goal for the final score of 3-2 for Sweden with just over three minutes remaining in regulation time.

Sweden won the tournament and Switzerland had to settle for third place. The Swiss outshot the Slovaks 26-21 but didn’t manage to turn around a 3-0 deficit after the first period. Nela Lopusanova scored two goals in the 3-2 win for Slovakia.

Sweden’s Hilda Svensson, who is in her first full SDHL season with HV71 Jonkoping, impressed with eight points (3+5) to lead the tournament in scoring ahead of her teammate and defender Astrid Lindeberg (1+5). Slovakia’s Lopusanova was third and the top goal scorer with four goals and five points.

Tournament wins for Hungary and Spain

Also teams involved in Division I and II play competed in international games last week.

In Fondo, Italy, the Hungarian U18 women’s national team showed an improved performance compared to last season and finished in first place ahead of Italy, France and Slovakia’s B team. The Hungarians edged second-ranked Italy 3-2 in a key win on Day 2 and finished with a 2-1 shootout win against France.

The three countries will meet again in Italy at the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group A, which will be held in Ritten from 9 to 15 January. Other teams include Germany, which was relegated to this group, as well as Norway and Austria. The latter two played two exhibition games in Villach, which were won by the host country Austria.

Another Four Nations Tournament was held in Poznan where Spain confirmed its upward trend in the U18 women’s category. The Spaniards became tournament winner after their wins against Great Britain (2-0) and Division IB rival and host Poland (4-2) and completed the event with a 4-0 blanking of winless Iceland. Poland claimed second place after beating Great Britain 3-2 in shootout.
Three Nations Tournament in Czechia
8 Nov. Teplice (CZE) Czechia - Finland 4-3
9 Nov. Teplice (CZE) Finland - Japan 4-0
10 Nov. Teplice (CZE) Japan - Czechia 0-4
11 Nov. Teplice (CZE) Finland - Czechia 1-0
12 Nov. Teplice (CZE) Japan - Finland 1-4
13 Nov. Teplice (CZE) Czechia - Japan 8-3
Standings: 1. Czechia 9, 2. Finland 9, 3. Japan 0
Four Nations Tournament in Sweden
10 Nov. Vasby (SWE) Switzerland - Germany 2-0
10 Nov. Vasby (SWE) Sweden - Slovakia 8-0
11 Nov. Vasby (SWE) Slovakia - Switzerland 3-2
11 Nov. Vasby (SWE) Sweden - Germany 7-0
12 Nov. Vasby (SWE) Germany - Slovakia 1-5
12 Nov. Vasby (SWE) Sweden - Switzerland 3-2
Standings:1. Sweden 9, 2. Slovakia 6, 3. Switzerland 3, 4. Germany 0
Four Nations Tournament in Italy
10 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Slovakia B - Hungary 0-5
10 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Italy - France 3-0
11 Nov. Fondo (ITA) France - Slovakia B 2-1 SO
11 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Hungary - Italy 3-2
12 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Hungary - France 2-1 SO
12 Nov. Fondo (ITA) Italy - Slovakia B 1-0
Standings:1. Hungary 8, 2. Italy 6, 3. France 3, 4. Slovakia B 1
Four Nations Tournament in Poland
11 Nov. Poznan (POL) Great Britain - Spain 0-2
11 Nov. Poznan (POL) Poland - Iceland 9-0
12 Nov. Poznan (POL) Great Britain - Iceland 7-0
12 Nov. Poznan (POL) Poland - Spain 2-4
13 Nov. Poznan (POL) Spain - Iceland 4-0
13 Nov. Poznan (POL) Poland - Great Britain 3-2 SO
Standings: 1. Spain 9, 2. Poland 5, 3. Great Britain 4, 4. Iceland 0.
Other games:
11 Nov. Villach (AUT) Austria - Norway 3-1
12 Nov. Villach (AUT) Austria - Norway 3-0