Canada bounced back on Day 2 of the Women’s U-18 World Hockey Championship, and the USA continued its dominance, securing a spot in the semifinals.
Here is a recap from each game, and day two’s three stars:
Canada - 3 vs. Sweden - 1
Canada got in the win column peppering 56 shots on Swedish netminder Lisa Jonsson who was spectacular in goal. Notably, Canada took more shots from the house, getting pucks to the middle of the ice. Rhea Hicks scored twice, once on a three-on-one and her second, picking up a loose puck off the draw and walking to the slot.
After a rocky start, Sweden settled in and in the third period outshot Canada. Overall, Canada brought a higher tempo game. They were quicker on the puck and did not give up on as many second chances. Captain Nicole Hall had several point-blank chances for the Swedes, while her linemate Mira Markstrom showed great creativity with the puck. Their line was the main threat for Sweden.
USA - 5 vs. Finland - 0
Team USA looked dominant yet again. The team's ability to capitalize on in-zone movement, cycling the puck high and laterally moving across the ice to open passing lanes and create space led to offense time and again. Tessa Janecke scored a highlight-reel goal, and Laila Edwards continued to quietly overpower her opponents using her vision and strength to get to the net, including shoveling home the American’s first goal, and driving to the net for the USA’s final tally.
One aspect not to be overlooked in USA’s constant puck control is the strength of their blueline. Sydney Morrow, Grace Dwyer, and Laney Potter effectively defend, but each is capable of single-handedly moving the puck out of their zone.
Finland could not repeat their game one upset, but continued to get key contributions from Sanni Vanhanen and captain Anna-Kaisa Anttto-Roiko. Vanhanen in particular was exceptional.
Czechia - 6 vs. Germany - 2
Czechia looks like the cream of the crop in Group B, and it’s their forward group driving play. Adela Sapovalivova had her second straight three-point game, this time collecting a trio of assists. Tereza Pistekova and Lucie Gruntova both scored a pair of goals, while Tereza Plosova had a goal and two assists. Gruntova showed excellent deception on her first goal of the game, pulling the puck across the lane to open up space for a shot that beat the German netminder short side. Sapovalivova set up a highlight-reel goal in the third, and continued to push back defenders with her speed.
Switzerland - 3 vs. Slovakia - 1
Scoring does not look like it will be a prevalent feature of games involving the Swiss or Slovaks. Zuzana Dobiasova opened the scoring for Slovakia in the first, but Switzerland responded with Nina Harju tying things up. The game stayed knotted at 1-1 until late in the third when Elena Gaberell played hero with less than eight minutes to play. Switzerland would add an insurance goal in the final minute to remain in contention for a quarterfinal position.
1. Tessa Janecke, USA - It will take something pretty spectacular for someone to score a prettier goal than Janecke’s first-period marker. She won a battle, walked the puck along the goal line and went backhand short side. It was the pace of her shot, and top-shelf positioning that dropped jaws. Later in the game, Janecke continued weaving her way into danger zones and opening space with her creativity. She has a killer instinct for wanting the puck and plays with an unmistakable tenacity. In the third, Janecke scored again, burying a one-timer from the slot. She finished with four points assisting on both of Laila Edwards’ goals. Edwards was named player of the game and blocked key shots. She could be named a star each and every game and is playing her way into the conversation for tournament MVP already.
2. Rhea Hicks, Canada - The Canadians needed someone to step up, and it was Rhea Hicks who came to play. She was opportunistic using her quickness on her first goal of the game to jump into the play and finish off a three-on-one. Her second goal of the contest came off a faceoff as she spun off her Swedish counterpart in the circle, jumped on a loose puck and slid it home. On both, Hicks leveraged low body positioning dropping to a knee to finish with strength. Canada has not looked as dominant as some predicted, but Rhea Hicks’ performance was enough to lift Team Canada to a win over Sweden.
3. Adela Sapovalivova, Czechia - The tournament’s leading scorer with a pair of three-point games, Sapavalivova has been driving play for Czechia in hopes of lifting her team into the quarterfinals. Against Germany, she set up three of Czechia’s goals including a spectacular third-period effort from her stomach sliding the puck across to Tereza Pistokova who scored her second of the game. In Group B, Sapovalivova’s speed is too much for the competition to handle.