Herning (Denmark) – Czech women’s ice hockey players beat Switzerland 4:2 in the match for 3rd place at the World Championship and won a medal at the top event for the first time in history. Striker Natálie Mlýnková contributed two goals to today’s bronze medal in Herning, Denmark.
The Czech record at the World Cup so far was sixth place, until this year the women’s hockey players had never been able to advance past the quarterfinals. In Denmark, however, in the fight for the semi-finals, they beat Finland in extra time, then suffered a debacle with the highly favored USA team, but the team of Canadian coach Carly MacLeod managed to win the final match and make history.
“We came under pressure in the third period. The Swiss have an excellent team and we had to work hard to match them. But we have a great goalkeeper, which is the basis. We know who we are and how to play. I am proud of the whole team, how he managed the whole tournament,” MacLeod told the International Ice Hockey Federation website.
The Czechs were the better team from the start. They took the lead in the 8th minute, when Kateřina Mrázová charged Mlýnková on the power play, who opened the scoring with a hard shot without preparation. In the 12th minute, when Michaela Pejzová was sent off, the opponents equalized. Alina Martiová beat Klára Peslarová from the right circle with the Swiss women’s first shot on goal in the match.
The Czech Republic regained the lead in the first period. In the 16th minute, Dominika Lásková from deep in the defensive zone sent a long pass that passed between two Swiss women to solo Daniela Pejšová. The Czech defender beat Andrea Brändliová with a forehand loop and scored her fifth goal of the tournament.
“We knew that if we scored a goal after they equalized, it would bring peace. We calmed down and played better. Of course, the third period was mainly nervous, after all, it was the first time we played and I think we played one after the other. The team spirit was huge and I’m glad that it finally worked out for us,” rejoiced Dominika Lásková in an interview with hokej.cz.
The Czechs took another step towards winning a medal at the beginning of the second period. In the 23rd minute, Vendula Přibylová got to the puck after Noemi Neubauerová’s shot, kicked it out of the reach of the Swiss goalkeeper and cleared it to the right post. In the 30th minute, Mlýnková drove between the circles and scored the second goal of the match and the sixth at the World Cup to increase the score to 4:1.
The 21-year-old striker could have decided the duel definitively in the 52nd minute, but she was weakened and could not make her break into a goal. Thanks to this, the Swiss managed to dramatize the match. In the continuing power play, Vallariová reduced the score to 2:4.
The Swiss women, who won bronze at the World Cup only once in history, then pushed for another goal. More than two minutes before the end, they decided to take a risk without a goalkeeper, but they did not manage to reduce the score, even though their superiority was further enhanced by the exclusion of the Czech captain Mills. “It’s an indescribable feeling… I don’t even have my vocal cords anymore. But it’s worth it,” Lásková rejoiced with a medal around her neck.
Match for 3rd place:
Czechia – Switzerland 4:2 (2:1, 2:0, 0:1)
Goals and saves: 8. Mlýnková (Mrázová, Tejralová), 16. Pejšová (Lásková), 23. Přibylová (Neubauerová, Peslarová), 30. Mlýnková (Mrázová) – 12. Martiová (Christenová, Leemannová), 50. Vallarioová (Rüeggová, Stalderová). Referees: Lieffersová (Kan.), Hillerová – Cameronová (both USA), Hammarová (Sweden). Exclusion: 7:6. Usage: 1:2. Viewers: 1294.
Composition of the Czech Republic: Peslarová – Lásková, Peišová, Horálková, Tejralová, Radová, Trnková – Mlýnková, Mrázová, Šapovalivová – Pejzlová, Hymlárová, Křížová – Neubauerová, Přibylová, Mills – Pátková, Sarnovská, Erbanová. Coach: Carla MacLeod.
Switzerland hockey for 3rd place women