Team USA finished group play undefeated after a dominant win over Canada. USA displayed depth and appears to be in a league of their own at the Women’s U-18 World Championship thus far.
In the other Group A game, Sweden completed a stunning comeback in the final minutes of play against Finland. Czechia secured top spot in Group B going undefeated. It’s now on to the quarterfinals, with elimination games looming.
Here’s a look back at each game:
Sweden - 4 vs. Finland - 3
This was a comeback for the ages. Down 3-2 in the final minutes of the game, Sweden pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. Finland demonstrated poor game management aiming to score too many times at the empty net and missing, each time turning into an icing and an offensive zone faceoff. Eventually, Sweden capitalized on a goal by Emma Pfeffer to tie things up. Looking for the win, Sweden pulled their goalie again tied 3-3 and with 7.8 seconds remaining, Jenna Raunio shoveled the puck home for the 4-3 win. Mira Markstrom was the game’s star, including a beautiful backhand drag and wrister in the first period to score, and an assist on the game-winning goal.
Czechia - 2 vs. Switzerland - 0
Michaela Hesova did it again for Czechia stopping 21 shots for her second shutout of the tournament. She has mind-boggling stats featuring a 0.36 goals-against average and a .979 save percentage in three starts. She’ll need to translate her Group B performance into the quarterfinals against tougher competition from Sweden. Dominika Malicka had a goal and an assist to lead Czechia offensively, while blueliner Anna Vanickova scored her second of the tournament. Switzerland will play Germany to avoid relegation.
USA - 7 vs. Canada - 0
Perhaps the most impressive portion of Team USA’s win over Canada is that it was secondary scoring, not their top line alone, that took care of business. Madison Kaiser had a goal and two assists while linemate Finley McCarthy set up a pair. Laila Edwards continued her dominance scoring a goal and adding a helper. In net, Hailey MacLeod struggled for Canada while Annelies Bergmann shut the door, grabbing her first shutout of the U-18 tournament. Canada was shut out twice in the preliminary round and will look to use their quarterfinal game against Slovakia to gain confidence heading into the medal round.
Slovakia - 6 vs. Germany - 2
When Lola Liang scored to open the game for Germany, it looked like Germany might sneak into the quarterfinals and send Slovakia back to relegation. Slovakia, however, responded strong scoring five straight goals. Hana Fancovicova had two goals and an assist, Barbora Kapicakova scored twice, and Nikola Janekova had a goal and a helper for the Slovaks to lead the charge. Slovakia needed to win by four goals or more to advance to the quarterfinals and they did just that. Germany will now play Switzerland in the relegation round. They just advanced to the top flight of the U-18 World Championship and will look to avoid a trip back down to Division 1A.
1. Mira Markstrom, SWE - Her creativity was on full display in this game. Markstrom is an elite floorball player and her hands have benefitted. In period one she pulled a backhand drag around a Finnish defender before firing home a goal. Then, in the final seconds of the game, it was Markstrom who found Jenna Raunio for the game-winner with 7.8 seconds remaining. At other times, Markstrom tapped pucks out of the air showcasing her eye-hand coordination. From start to finish, she caught your eye and was Sweden’s top threat.
2. Sydney Morrow, USA - She has been spectacular all tournament. Offensively, Morrow advances the puck showing her mobility in transition and while walking the blueline. She has excellent vision, finding lanes and collected her sixth and seventh assists in three tournament games. As important in this game was Morrow’s defensive play. She stifled Canada’s attack closing gaps quickly and not allowing opposing forwards to the middle of the ice. Morrow is not afraid to jump into the play, but chooses her opportunities wisely. With the puck, her feet are always pointing up ice.
3. Annelies Bergmann, USA - While many of the shots she faced were from the periphery, Annelies Bergmann gave Canada little to look at and less hope for secondary scoring chances. She used her six-foot frame to cover the net and stayed square to shooters. Much as it was against Sweden in their first game of the tournament, Bergmann’s rebound control was impeccable. While the USA scored seven goals, Bergmann’s shutout, stopping 25 shots, was equally impressive.
Quarterfinal schedule (June 10)
Canada vs. Slovakia - 5:00 PM ET
Sweden vs Czechia - 9:00 PM ET