Michelle Clark-Crumpton battles to get the puck past South African goaltender Shaylene Rorke (Photo Credit: Mats Bekkevold (@smats1984) - Instagram.)

Day 4 of the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championships Div II, Group B saw just the one game in action, as Australia looked to remain undefeated, while South Africa tried to find its second win of the tournament.

Throughout the entirety of the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II, Group B action, The Inner Sanctum will be bringing you a daily wrap of the tournament, breaking down the key moments of each match, and what the teams can do going forward.

In case you missed it, you can find the wraps for Day 1 here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here.

South Africa v Australia

Just the single game on the docket on Day 4, and if you are an Australian, it did not disappoint.

This performance was a truly destructive one, as the Aussies shipped 17 goals past South Africa, all of them taking place at 5v5.

It took just 2:06 for Michelle Clark-Crumpton to open the scoring, the first of five goals in the first period, with Kristelle van der Wolf finding the score sheet for Australia’s second.

Australia would then go the second-longest stretch of time in the game without scoring, with 8 minutes of game time would pass before Clark-Crumpton got her second, Isla Malcolm would also find the back of the net, and van der Wolf got her second to head into the first break with a 5-0 lead.

van der Wolf would get her hat-trick just 2:29 into the second period. Lindsey Kiliwnik, Ashlie Aparicio, and Emily Davis Tope all found the net before Australia would face some adversity and take the only penalty of the match as Marnie Pullin would be sent to the box for delaying the game.

The penalty killing effort by Australia was a picture-perfect way of how teams would love to execute play when short-handed. A significant portion of the play was spent in the South African defensive zone, despite South Africa having the player advantage, and Australia was able to spend that time possessing the puck, moving it around the zone and looking for opportunities to score.

Clark-Crumpton would find her hat-trick just 35 seconds after the expiry of the penalty, and Sara Sammons would also find a goal to send Australia into the second break with an 11-0 lead.

The longest period without scoring would be 10:54 of game time between the Sammons goal and Australia’s 12th goal, as Stephenie Cochrane scored her first goal of the tournament 7:50 into the third period.

A second to Davis Tope and a fourth to van der Wolf made it 14-0 and saw a goalie change, as Shaylene Rorke made way for Monique van Dyk.

Exactly five minutes after the change, Davis Tope would get her a hat-trick, Australia’s third player of the game to do so, while two goals in the final minute of play would see Kiliwnik pick up a double, and van der Wolf end the game with five goals.

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After the Croatia game (13-0 to Australia) on Day 3, assistant coach Paul Graham spoke on the importance of goal differential.

“It’s always somewhere in the back of your mind that it might come down to goal differential, but you don’t focus on it. It’s good to take each period like it’s a 0-0 game and push every shift,” Graham said.

The importance of this mentality definitely was on show in both the Croatia game and this game against South Africa, as the Aussies were constantly pushing, including pushing well after the game had been decided in order to make sure that the side does not lose any momentum and shift focus from what the ultimate goal is, to win the tournament and gain promotion.

You can also see this mentality in the way Australia celebrates every goal. The players celebrate like it will be the only goal they score in the tournament, and for some of them, it might be the only goal they score. Having that team mentality of celebrating every achievement equally shows just how close this side is, and how united they are towards the goal of winning.

If Iceland can beat Croatia on Day 5, it will set up a winner takes all match on the final day against Australia, with a friendlier start time of 12:00am Monday morning AEST.

South Africa and Australia come together for a combined team photo post-game. Photo Credit: Stjepan Cizmadija

For South Africa, while it was another crushing loss after conceding double goals, it does have a very winnable game against Turkey coming up to round out the tournament on Day 5.

Having already found a win against the hosts Croatia, South Africa knows how to win in this tournament and being able to leave with a victory would be fantastic for its squad. It needs to put aside the defeats to Iceland and Australia, and focus on the lessons learnt from that victory over Croatia to ensure it leaves with two wins.

Day 5 action sees Turkey take on South Africa in the early game, with Iceland taking on Croatia in the second game as it looks to keep pace with Australia at the top of the group.

Day 6 action sees Australia take on Iceland in what is shaping up to be a winner takes all match, while Turkey takes on Croatia in the final game of the tournament.

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