The Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup for 2018 in Ostrava, Czech Republic is rapidly drawing to a close and after eighteen games of Para Ice hockey action, it’s time to take a look back at the tournament so far. At the time of this blog, the Final itself and the two semi-finals will not have taken place yet.
Day one of the ‘Elite Division’ saw an absolute cracker of a contest to get the World Cup off to a bang, as the North American neighbours in Team Canada and the United States played out a seven-goal thriller, with the nation from the ‘Stars and Stripes’ pipping their foes north of the border to a 4-3 win.
It saw the Canadians lead 2-1 after the opening period of play, but the Americans reversed that scoreline in the second stanza to take a 4-2 advantage into the third period. Canada’s Nandini Sharma made it a tense finale with 51.3 seconds left in the game, but the US managed to hold onto the win and draw first blood in the tournament.
Canada didn’t have time to dwell on the loss, as they played the second of their two-games of the day against Team Europe and saw the side from the ‘Great White North’ firing on all cylinders with a thumping 13-0 thrashing to split their opening group games. Christina Picton led the way for the Canadians with a hat trick, while Raphaelle Tousignant, Emilie Robitaille and Jessica Matassa all collected a brace of goals in the rout.
Day two saw the US playing twice, as following their 5-0 in their first game against the European side, it then saw them facing off again against the Canadians and had a different outcome this time around to the previous day. A lone goal was by Canada’s Raphaelle Tousignant in the second period was the difference between the two and saw a split in the Round Robin series between the two hockey powerhouses.
On day three, Europe suffered losses in both their games against the US and Canada. It didn’t see the European side getting off to the best of starts in either game to be honest, as the first match saw the Americans taking an early four-goal lead with less than eight minutes played and had the side looking to stem the flow of goals being shipped. Much to the relief of the European side, they managed to see the rest of the first period out and all of second too and had them entering the final period trailing by those four early goals. However, the US made sure that they weren’t going to be blanked for another period of play and they managed to score a fifth for a 5-0 win.
Much like in their previous game at the start of the day against the United States, Europe once again found themselves behind the eight-ball pretty early on, as they fell four goals behind yet again in the first period. The Canadians managed to find the back of the net once in the second stanza to lead 5-0 going into the third and the final period. Canada found the twine four more times to win 9-0 and finished top of the standings with a goal difference of plus 22.
Saturday will see a deciding game between Team USA and Team Canada in the World Cup final, as it will also be a rematch of four years ago when the Americans lifted the first-ever World Cup thanks to a devastating performance by Kelsey DiClaudio who netted four times to beat the Canadians in their own backyard.
This tournament has also presented a chance for players to grow their skills alongside the Main Event of the Women’s Elite Division, as the ‘Developmental Division’ has been introduced at this World Cup and has been an entertaining part to this tournament as a whole.
As said previously, this year’s World Cup features over ten countries taking part in this festival of Women’s Para Ice Hockey with eleven countries alone being involved in the Development Division.
Great Britain was able to ice two sides in this tournament, with d the GB team dubbed ‘GB Fangs’ fall to the Norwegians 5-0 in their opening game. GB Claws’ suffering a similar fate to what the ‘Fangs’ did, with a Finnish/Swedish mixed side handing the British side a 4-2 loss.
Meanwhile, the hosts were one of three joint sides in competition as had the Czechs joining forces with Croatia and in their first outing played out a 1-1 with the Netherlands.
The remaining game of the day saw the three mixed side, as a team made up of Australians and Scottish players recorded not only a 2-0 win but registered a shutout against France in the process.
Day two saw Norway and Holland playing out a thrilling game with the Norwegians edging the Dutch 4-3 to maintain their 100% start to the tournament.
For the Great British duo, it saw both ‘Claws’ & ‘Fangs’ recording 2-1 victories in their respective matches. As the Fangs defeated the hosts and also saw the ‘GB Claws’ side beating the Aussies and Scottish side by the same score.
Another side with an unbeaten record coming in the second day was the mix of players from Finland and Sweden, as the Nordic brotherhood racked up a comprehensive 9-0 win over France to remain perfect.
On the third day, Norway won 3-1 over the Croatia/Czech Republic team to move on to 6pts, while GB Fang’s shutout the Netherlands 1-0 to and trail Norway by two points in the standings.
The Great Britain Claws picked up a 2-1 victory over France, while the Nordic duo of Team Finland/Sweden remain with an unblemished record of three wins from three as they beat the Australia/Scotland squad 5-1.
GOLD MEDAL GAME / World Cup Final:
Canada v USA