14/04/2024

Photo Credit: Zahit Duzgun

Australia battles the Netherlands for the bronze medal of the IIHF U18 Women's World Championships tonight at 11:00 pm AEST. Our preview looks at each team's tournament so far by the numbers and highlights players to watch.

Australia battles the Netherlands for the bronze medal of the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships tonight at 11:00 pm AEST. Our preview looks at each team’s tournament so far by the numbers and highlights players to watch.

The tournament has already been a success for the young Australian team. A bronze medal would be the icing on the cake for an exceptional tournament.

Meanwhile, The Netherlands came close to securing a place in the gold-medal match. It dominated Great Britain on the shot count and had a penalty shot with scores tied in the dying minutes.

However, Great Britain saved the penalty shot and took the match to overtime. Great Britain then scored 46 seconds later to advance to the gold medal game against Spain.

Australia, on the other hand, came from behind against Latvia to qualify for the bronze medal game. With less than four minutes remaining, Australia broke the 1-1 deadlock and hung on for the win.

An analysis of the numbers for each team’s tournament indicates fans can expect a close contest this evening.

Photo Credit: Zahit Duzgun

By The Numbers

AustraliaThe Netherlands
Senior Women’s Ranking3319
Shots For164132
Shots Against8294
Goals For1312
Goals Against68
Powerplay Percentage23.5322.22
Penalty Kill Percentage70.0095.45
Special Teams Percentage93.53117.67
Shot Percentage7.939.09
Save Percentage92.6891.49

Australia has been dominant in shot-share throughout the tournament. The team generates two shots for every shot allowed.

Unfortunately, Australia has also been profligate in front of the net at times this tournament, squandering good scoring opportunities.

The shot conversion rate of less than eight per cent reflects that profligacy. The Netherlands, contrastingly, boasts a conversion rate of just over nine per cent.

Regarding special teams, both teams have effective powerplays, with Australia holding a slight advantage.

However, The Netherlands holds the clear penalty-killing advantage, allowing only one powerplay goal thus far.

Special teams’ play has been a hallmark of games involving The Netherlands, its style of play has incited extra-curricular responses from its opposition.

Australia will need to be disciplined to avoid getting caught up in post-whistle shenanigans and being sent to the penalty box.

More 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships News

Australia defeats Latvia, will play for bronze

Australia’s Turkish Delight

Spain’s special teams shine against Australia

Players to Watch

Fleur Kivits, captain of The Netherlands, has scored three goals this tournament, all on the powerplay. Australia will need to be aware of where she is on the ice at all times, especially on special teams.

The Netherlands has also generated offence from the blue line throughout the tournament. Defender Danique Koghee has tallied three goals in four games, including one on the powerplay.

Australia’s strength this tournament has been team play, and the ability to generate offence via different players and different lines.

Courtney Mahoney leads goal-scorers for Australia with three, Natasha Dube and captain Ebony Brunt each have two goals.

Look for Gabrielle Arps and Samantha Payne to add offence from the blue line to supplement Australia’s attack.

Finally, this match is likely to be decided between the pipes. Olivia Last has been sensational this tournament, and backup goaltender Madison Smith performed well against Turkey.

Australia should feel confident that whomever it has in goal will give it a chance to win.

Final Thoughts

This Australian team has been exceedingly fun to watch. The players have gelled quickly as a group and improved from game to game, and even period to period.

Australia has only competed in four U18 Women’s World Championships and hasn’t sent a team since 2019.

Regardless of the result tonight, the team and fans can be proud of what they have accomplished in Istanbul. To finish in the top four of division two is a remarkable achievement already.

However, a bronze medal would be a wonderful reward for the team and players to take home and cherish.

For such a young team, this is hopefully just the beginning of a run of successful tournaments.

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