The quarterfinals and relegation rounds got underway on Day 4 of the women’s U-18 World Championship with Finland and the USA resting and waiting for their semifinal opponents. Canada showed their first signs of life, albeit against a weak Slovakian squad, and Czechia proved they were not only the best team in Group B, but that they are capable of competing with Group A teams. In the fight to avoid relegation, Switzerland and Germany played the first of their best-of-three series.
Here are three stars and summaries from each game from the fourth day of the women’s U-18 World Championship:
Canada - 7 vs. Slovakia - 0
It was beyond lopsided with Canada outshooting Slovakia 65-5. The good news is, seven different scorers got on the board for Canada, and hopefully the team can take some confidence into their semi-final. Karel Prefontaine, Madison Chantler, Ava Murphy, Alyssa Regalado, and McKenna Van Gelder each had a goal and an assist. Jordan Baxter, who has been one of Canada’s most consistent threats in the tournament finally got on the board, while Emmalee Pais also scored. Perhaps the biggest surprise for Canada was the appearance of Jade Iginla who was initially ruled out for the tournament with a shoulder injury. While Slovakia was eliminated, they were the youngest team in the tournament with an average age of 16.27 years, including two 14-year-old players. They’ll have another crack at the tournament next season.
Sweden - 2 vs. Czechia - 1
Sweden was lucky to escape their quarterfinal matchup against Czechia who outshot, and at times outplayed their opponent who was heavily favored being a member of Group A. Mira Markstrom continued to drive play whenever she was on the ice assisting on goals by Nicole Hall and Jenna Raunio in the first half of the game. Hall was strong at both ends of the ice for Sweden. For Czechia, the duo of Tereza Plosova and Adela Sapovalivova remained the nation’s best players. They both have speed and puck skills, mixed with a high compete level.
Switzerland - 1 vs. Germany - 0
In a flip of their preliminary round game, Switzerland held on for a 1-0 decision. The Swiss outshot Germany 30-12, with the lone goal of the game waiting until the 51st minute. Switzerland’s Naemi Herzig scored the lone goal of the game, while netminder Nadia Haener stopped the 12 shots she faced to shutout the Germans. These teams will play again Sunday.
1. Sara Swiderski, CAN - The mobile defender has been solid for Canada at both ends of the ice. When Canada is at its most effective, Swiderski is often hauling the puck out of their zone or leading the transition. The team as a whole has struggled to connect tape-to-tape, but Swiderski has been the exception. She picked up a single assist and leads all Canadian defenders in +/-. Sarah MaCeachern has been another steady presence on the blueline. She’s shown the ability to win battles and in the quarterfinal had three assists.
2. Lisa Jonsson, SWE - While Sweden’s Nicole Hall or Mira Markstrom could have been called stars, it was Lisa Jonsson who kept the Swede’s single-goal lead alive during numerous shorthanded stints. Jonsson has good rebound control, and while her counterpart, Michael Hesova, was excellent at the other end, it was Jonsson who came out with the win making 30-saves.
3. Adela Sapovalivova, CZE- No player consistently impacted the offensive chances on either side of the ice as consistently as Sapovalivova. She drew penalties, backed off Swedish defender with her speed, and showed that despite a small frame, she could compete physically for pucks. In the face-off circle, she won several important draws and picked up an assist giving her seven points in four games in the tournament.
Semifinal Schedule (June 12)
Canada vs. Finland - 3:30 PM ET
USA vs. Sweden - 7:30 PM ET