The nightmare after euphoria | Women’s Hockey – Ice Hockey

Thursday evening, the goal of Aneta Tejralová (who had accumulated 32’37 of playing time during this meeting) capsized the Czech Republic. A winning goal after only 41 seconds in extra time, provoked by a legend of the discipline (Finnish Jenni Hiirikoski) who had a moment of bewilderment, dismissing Finland for the first time from the final square which had never joined precisely the women’s team from Czechia. Even if this historic goal is rooted in an error in judgment by an opposing player, it is obvious that the Czech Republic did not steal their qualification, and we even recognize it in the Finnish camp. Former national team defender Minnamari “Minttu” Tuominen believes the Czech Republic have caught up to Finland faster in terms of play than Finland has caught up to the North Americans. The focus has really been on individual skill, with Tuominen telling Yle that many Czech players have joined American universities for the speed of their game.

The Czechs exulted, danced (as often during the competition with their choreo on their goal song Bzum-bzum breke-keke), savored this historic first. But such a burst of enthusiasm, absolutely natural, must fall, under pain of disappointment, because the tournament is not over. Quarterback heroine Aneta Tejralová is well aware, “It’s not over yet, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Don’t think we’re going into this semi-final to prepare for the bronze medal. she confided to isport.

The Czech Republic face one of the two steamrollers of the women’s elite, the United States who have not suffered any defeats so far, beating Canada (5-2) at the end of the preliminary round , before atomizing Hungary in the quarter-finals. However, the Hungarians were only 1-0 down after a period, before the sudden awakening and a score which continued to grow to finish at 12-1. We know the dimension in which American executives like Hilary Knight or Kendall Coyne-Schofield can perform, but it should be noted that two of the three best scorers of the tournament are playing their first world championship: Taylor Heise (22) and Hannah Bilka (21 year).

This is quite a challenge for the Czechs: upset an American team that won by 3 goals against Canada, 5 against Finland and 3 games in which John Wroblewski’s players scored 9 goals or more.

krystina patkova, czech female
Kristyna Patkova (IIHF photo)

The Czech Republic is therefore playing its first semi-final at the Worlds, and given the partitioning of group A with the system of two level groups in the world elite, it has never met the United States at the world championships. On the other hand, their paths crossed not so long ago since these two nations faced each other in the quarter-finals of the Olympic tournament last February, and the Americans did not have an easy victory. In Beijing, goalkeeper Klára Peslarová had conceded only 3 goals for 55 saves, for an honorable defeat of 4-1. Peslarová will once again be the key to the game for Czechia, who dominates the statistics of this World Cup 2022 among goalkeepers with 96.6% saves and an average of 0.64 goals, conceding only 3 goals during the competition .

But Peslarová and her teammates will experience a nightmare in the first half of this historic semi-final. Stecklein, climbing to the right post to deflect a throw from Knight, is the first warning. Alex Carpenter hinders the Czech recovery and serves the new star Taylor Heise, who scores on the inside post (1-0, 07’53). The tone is set. However, the Czechs have the opportunity to react thanks to a 2 against 1 but Mrázová is blocked by Keller’s defensive play. It’s just a short interlude. Carpenter’s action, alone, diverted from the pad by Peslarová, is another warning. It only takes a few seconds afterwards for the Americans to double the bet: good work along the boards by Jesse Compher, Grace Zumwinkle recovers behind the goal and serves in front of goal Hayley Scamurra who volleys (2-0, 09’50). Barely a minute later, Taylor Heise stole the puck from Mrázová, 2 against 0, Heise then left it to Amanda Kessel to overrun and beat Peslarová (3-0, 10’47).

Czechia coach Carla MacLeod then called a time-out to stop the bleeding. But the torpedoing continues. Peslarová and Lásková struggle to stop a try from Heise on the line. But Taylor Heise was not done (far from it), his shot was then deflected by Hilary Knight, who screened in front of goal (4-0, 14’56). Completely outclassed, the Czechs think of scoring in reaction: Natálie Mlýnková infiltrates, protects her puck and falls into the goal, dragging goalkeeper Nicole Hensley. The puck is free and Katerina Mrázová scores, she raises her arms but her goal will, rightly, be disallowed. On this action, Stecklein receives a penalty which the Czechs do not take advantage of. Worse, two other American goals conclude this first period. Hilary Knight appears in front of the goal, attempts a first shot but manages to score on her second, from the backhand (5-0, 18’18). Finally, Lacey Eden eliminates Tejralová at the start of the zone and redirects the puck to the right to Jesse Compher who scores on the short side (6-0, 19’25).

Hard blow for the Czech goalkeeper Klára Peslarová, irreproachable until now, and victim of this catastrophic period. The Brynäs goalkeeper then gives way to Blanka Škodová, Minnesota-Duluth goalkeeper who must then make a delicate entry. Especially since the American throws continue to fly with two successive penalties from the Czech Republic. Four seconds after the expiration of the second, Abby Roque served behind Amanda Kessel who scored in pivot (7-0, 26’56).

amanda kessel
Amanda Kessel, boosted like her teammates (photo IIHF)

At mid-match, the Czech Republic has only 3 shots on target. A new powerplay for the Czechs provides a chance to regain (a little) color… even if Zumwinkle dangerously overflows the Czech defense, without consequence. Nicole Hensley ends up losing, however, on one of the few opposing shots, Klára Hymlárová is on the deflection, Hensley does not manage to freeze, Hymlárová recovers in the fray and scores (7-1, 31’16 ). However, the American reaction capacity is formidable. 14 seconds after this goal for the honor, Taylor Heise is pressing in the Czech camp, recovers on the right side and crosses for Amanda Kessel, who scores between the pads of Škodová (8-1, 31’30). It’s a hat-trick for the 31-year-old sniper who is competing for her sixth world championship. Substitute Blanka Škodová tries to put on a good face, however, making two fine saves in front of Knight and Heise before the second break. For her part, Alena Mills comes close to scoring a second Czech goal, not missing much from her backhand shot on the mitten side.

In the third period, the Americans did not relax their efforts with an important possession, and still a lot of danger created, in particular by Kessel, Coyne-Schoffield, Scamurra and Bilka. The addition thickens inevitably. Hayley Scamurra wins the puck behind the cage and serves in the Caroline Harvey slot (9-1, 50’36). Amanda Kessel intercepts the puck in the offensive zone and serves Taylor Heise, who makes a perfectly crossed shot (10-1, 52’35). The end of the match is then controlled without problem by the players of John Wroblewski, ending the match in numerical superiority.

In a one-sided game, the United States qualified (again) for the final of the world championships. In this bonfire, impossible not to mention the « rising star » Taylor Heise, 4 points during this half, or 18 points (7 + 11) in total, which corresponds to a new record at the Women’s Worlds. The step was too high for the Czech Republic, which ultimately never had the opportunity to put a spoke in the wheel for their opponents. Lack of freshness? Euphoria of the badly digested quarter? This first historic semi-final will retain a certain bitterness. In any case, the Czechs still have a match for the bronze medal, which will nonetheless remain historic.

Players of the match: Hayley Scamurra for the United States, Denisa Křízová for the Czech Republic.

USA – Czechia 10-1 (6-0, 2-1, 2-0)
Saturday, September 3 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kvik Hockey Arena in Herning. 851 spectators.
Referees: Julia Kainberger (AUT) and Amanda Tassoni (USA) assisted by Jennifer Cameron (USA) and Jessica Chartrand (CAN).
Penalties: USA 6′ (2′, 4′, 0′), Czech Republic 12′ (2′, 6′, 4′).
Shots: USA 39 (19, 9, 11), Czechia 10 (2, 4, 4).

Score evolution:
1-0 at 07’53: Heise assisted by Carpenter
2-0 at 09:50: Scamurra assisted by Zumwinkle and Compher
3-0 at 10’47: Kessel assisted by Heise
4-0 at 14:56: Knight assisted by Heise and Keller (num. sup.)
5-0 at 18’18: Knight assisted by Bilka and Dunne
6-0 at 19’25: Compher assisted by Eden and Keller
7-0 at 26’56: Kessel assisted by Roque and Harvey
7-1 at 31’16: Hymlárová assisted by Křízová and Tejralová
8-1 at 31’30: Kessel assisted by Heise
9-1 at 50’36: Harvey assisted by Scamurra
10-1 at 52’35: Heise assisted by Kessel

United States

Hannah Bilka (+1) – Hannah Brandt – Hilary Knight (A, +1)
Alex Carpenter (+4) – Taylor Heise (+4) – Amanda Kessel (+4)
Kendall Coyne-Schofield (C) – Kelly Pannek – Lacey Eden (+1)
Hayley Scamurra (+2) – Jesse Compher (+3, 2′) – Grace Zumwinkle (+1)
Abby Roque (+3)

Lee Stecklein (A, +2, 2′) – Caroline Harvey (+4)
Megan Keller (+2) – Savannah Harmon (+2)
Cayla Barnes (+4) – Jincy Dunne (+2)
Rory Guilday

Nicole Hensley

Substitute: Maddie Rooney (G). In reserve: Aerin Frankin (G).


Adela Šapovalivová (-1, 2′) – Katerina Mrázová (A, -2) – Natálie Mlýnková (-1)
Denisa Křízová (A, -1) – Michaela Pejzlová (-1, 2′) – Klára Hymlárová (-1)
Vrendla Přibylová (-3) – Alena Mills (C, -3) – Noemi Neubauerová (-2, 2′)
Karolina Erbanová (-3) – Kristyna Patková (-2, 2′) – Agáta Sarnovská (-2)

Daniela Pejsova (-2) – Dominika Laskova (-1)
Aneta Tejralová (A, -5) – Pavlina Horálková (-5)
Andrea Trnková (-4, 2′) – Tereza Radová (-1, 2′)

Klára Peslarová then Blanka Škodová at 20’00

In reserve: Viktorie Švejdová (G), Klára Seroiszková (D), Laura Lerchová (A).

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