Poland wins OT thriller
by Liz MONTROY|02 APR 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Guntis Lazdans

Slovakia collected a second commanding victory in Riga to remain at the top of the standings of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group B tournament, while the other two games on day two were tight contests in which Poland took Great Britain to overtime and hosts Latvia got their first win.

Poland 3 - Great Britain 2 (OT)

Poland rebounded from their opening loss to Slovenia with a comeback win over Great Britain, who took a 2-0 lead after one period. Abbie Sylvester scored her first ever senior World Championship goal with a rocket from the point, while Laura Horwood continued her strong rookie campaign by tapping in her own rebound.

Poland started to climb their way back in the second period however. Wiktoria Gogoc sent a long saucer pass up ice to Karolina Pozniewska, who found Tetiana Onyshchenko skating to the net to cut Great Britain’s lead in half.

It seemed that Great Britain would skate away with their second win of the tournament, but Poland tied the game with just 21 seconds remaining. Moments following a game-saving dive by Wiktoria Sikorska to prevent Great Britain from scoring an empty net goal, Julia Zielinska passed to Olivia Tomczok for a power play one-timer past goalie Nicole Jackson.

Wiktoria Dziwok was the overtime hero, skating alone into Great Britain’s zone and scoring under Jackson’s blocker with a backhand shot.

photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Guntis Lazdans

Slovakia 4 - Slovenia 0

Seven saves was all Andrea Risianova had to make to collect a shutout against Slovenia, with Slovakia outshooting Slovenia by a whopping 75-7. Yale University’s Pia Dukaric had an outstanding performance in net for Slovenia despite the score with 71 saves, and was rightly named Slovenia’s Best Player of the game.

Slovak defender Laura Sulikova scored her first career World Championship goal from the blue line on the power play at 4:21, with Lucia Haluskova increasing Slovakia’s lead just over 10 minutes later.

The Slovak women’s league’s 18-year-old scoring phenom, Tatiana Blichova (who captained Slovakia’s U18 team in January ahead of her 18th birthday), scored her second goal in as many games in the second period, sending the puck top shelf on her backhand.

Lucia Istocyova scored Slovakia’s fourth and final goal in the third period on the power play, with Dukaric making a save off a shot from the point and Istocyova jumping on the rebound.

photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Guntis Lazdans

Latvia 3 - Italy 2

Latvia collected their first win of the tournament in a close match-up with Italy. Scoreless until 38 minutes in, Agnese Apsite redirected a shot from Anna Kublina to get Latvia on the board. Italy tied the game just 46 second later however; while Latvian goalie Kristiana Apsite was able to make the first two saves as Italy crashed the crease, Aurora Abatangelo found the back of the net.

Both goalies made significant saves throughout the game, with Kristiana Apsite and Italy’s Ilaria Girardi both facing strong pressure from their opposition.

The score was locked at 1-1 until the final minutes. A pass up ice from Karina Silajane to Krista Yip-Chuck gave Latvia back the lead, with Yip-Chuck making a nice move around Italy’s defence to score and put Latvia up 2-1.

Italy pulled Girardi with three minutes remaining, which Latvia capitalized on, with Silajane scoring on the empty net. Italy was able to score one more goal with the extra attacker, with Greta Niccolai scoring with 48 seconds remaining, but despite an intense final shift in Latvia’s end, the host nation held on to the win.