15/04/2024

Czechia was all smiles as the team posed together with their bronze medals as a team. (Photo: IIHF)

The IIHF Women’s World Championship has wrapped up for another edition of the tournament, with history being made in both the bronze and gold medal games.

Bronze medal game: Czechia wins first ever medal

Injuries plagued Switzerland, but the tenacity and intensity shown by a Czechia team which was on a mission made sure it walked away from the tournament with its first ever medal in international competition.

Czechia played a dominant game of hockey, leaving little work for Klára Peslarová, who only faced 20 shots, saving 18 of them. 

The first period would be dominated by special teams, with two of the goals coming on the power play, and Czechia’s second goal coming just after the expiry of a penalty to Daniela Pejšová. She was on the receiving end of a pass not long after she stepped out of the box, allowing her a unimpeded run at the goalie.

The second period would see Czechia put the foot down and extend the lead further with goals to Vendula Přibylová and Natálie Mlýnková, heading into the third with a 4-1 lead.

Nicole Vallario would try to get Switzerland back in the match, scoring with just under 11 minutes remaining in the game to make it 4-2, but Czechia would not falter in its quest for a first ever medal, securing bronze after a strong defensive performance throughout the remainder of the game.

En route to the bronze medal, Czechia had more of an impact on the future of the Women’s Worlds than it ever could have imagined.

By beating Finland in the quarter finals, it meant Finland had to play in the fifth vs. sixth playoff to determine who stays in Group A and who moves into Group B.

Finland, long considered the number three team in women’s ice hockey behind the USA and Canada, lost that playoff against Japan and ended up in Group B for next year’s tournament as a result.

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Gold medal game: Canada makes history in defeating the USA

After a 5-2 victory to the Americans in the preliminary stage, Canada was out for revenge in a very tight contest that would go right down to the wire.

After a scoreless first period, a quick fire double from Brianne Jenner less than 90 seconds apart (the second was on the power play) would vault Canada into a two goal lead.

Abby Roque would get one back 21 seconds before the end of the second to give the Americans hope heading into the third period.

The assist by Kendall Coyne Scofield would be her 41st assist at the Women’s World Championship, setting a new American record.

In a third period which saw both sides play very intense hockey as the USA pushed for an equaliser, it would come down to some monster efforts from Ann-Renée Desbiens to secure the victory for Canada, who was forced into multiple key saves throughout.

A defeat of the USA meant that Canada created history, becoming the first team to win Olympic gold, the U18 Women’s Worlds, and the IIHF Women’s Worlds in the same calendar year in the first year of it being possible.

For the Americans, who did everything absolutely right throughout the tournament, they came up short in the quest for gold and will be left wondering how to go one step further next year.

Canada shrugged off the defeat to the USA earlier in the tournament, and saved the best performance for last, giving the side a reason for enjoyment and celebration in what has been a difficult period over the last few months for hockey in Canada.

The tournament All-Star team consisted of players from all three medal winning teams.

Czechia was represented by Klára Peslarová (goalie) and Daniela Pejšová (defender).

The USA was represented by Caroline Harvey (defender) and forwards Amanda Kessel and Taylor Heise (who was also named tournament MVP).

The lone Canadian player rounding out the All-Star team was forward Sarah Fillier.

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