WINIH Blog

Captain Julia Marty; Swiss Struggle Against Canada.

Submitted by GuestBlog on Fri, 04/05/2013 - 11:42 in 2013 World Championship, Events

Canada 13  Switzerland 0 April 3, 2013.

 

Starting goaltender Florence Schelling did not play much to her consternation; coaching staff were resting her for Friday game vs. Czech Republic.  Here is Swiss Captain Julia Marty’s blog about the game vs. Canada:

We were going into the game against Team Canada expecting a totally different game than the day before against Finland. Our coaches prepared us for a fast and physical game against a team which plays on a level that a lot of our players haven’t seen many times before.

Another thing which we expected to be different from the most games was the huge crowd. Especially at home in Switzerland we are not used to have so many spectators. For the players who haven’t played at a World Championship in Canada or at the Olympics this was most likely the biggest crowd they have ever played in front of.

 Comparing Team Switzerland and Team Canada on the paper, it already says a lot about the skill differences. Team Canada is the current number one of the world, since last year’s bronze medal win we are ranked fourth in the world. Canada enjoys a huge advantage in terms of players, almost 87, 000 licensed female players, Switzerland has close to 1,200. Because of the lack of players we have no girls’ league and girls grow up playing in the boys’ league.

It is always hard to prepare for a game where you know that your opponent has superior skills than you have. In such games we set up small individual goals and take it shift by shift. We are happy if we make a good play or a good move. If we make a mistake or we get scored on we are obviously disappointed. But the game goes on, we take the next shift and try to make it better next time.

With this attitude we started the game against the current world champion. And we started pretty well. After the first period Canada was ahead 2:0. In my opinion we could be happy with our performance after the first 20 minutes. We had ten shots on their net and in the past ten years I have been on the team I cannot remember ever playing them so aggressively. Unfortunately we could not keep up this pace in the following two periods. After the second period the score was 8:0.

When you get scored on so many times it is hard to stay positive. But as I mentioned above, this is what we set us as our goal before the game. We told ourselves that no matter what happens, we battle until the end and take it shift by shift. Even though we got scored on five more times in the last period I think we at least reached this goal. Obviously I am disappointed after a 13:0 loss. The positive thing I take out of this game is that fought for 60 minutes. However, we need to acknowledge that Team Canada is still many steps ahead and that there is still a lot of work in front of us.

Friday we are facing Team USA, skill wise a similar opponent as Team Canada.

 

 

Czech's Surprize Everyone; Beat Swedes in Opener.

Submitted by Elizabeth Etue on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 11:49 in 2013 World Championship, Events

Captain Alena Polenska on Surprizing Czech Win vs. Sweden  3-2
April 2, 2013.

I think the score reflected the game. Obviously Sweden had some chances to tie up the game or to take it away from us completely but we also had chances, where we could have added another goal.

 At one point, we were in control in the Swedish defensive zone but in the next minute they were in ours. Their pressure was especially strong during their power plays. I must admit that when we got the two penalties in the third period close to the end of the game, the game changed a bit. If we had played five on five, we could have tried to control the game, keep the puck away from our zone, and force them to dump the puck. However, being on PK (penalty kill) we were forced to defend in our zone for quite some time. That definitely kept us on our toes (on the ice and on the bench) but we kept fighting till the end.

I remember seeing my teammates jumping in front of shots, and trying to block as many as possible just so the puck can stay away from our net. We also knew that if any puck gets by, we can rely on our goalie.

I must admit that after the first period, we were a bit surprised that we were up by two goals. It was something we didn't expect initially but when the game started, we realized that we can play with this team. Prior to the game our doubts were probably coming from our inexperience playing in the top division, and the one game we lost badly to Finland during our camp prior to arriving in Ottawa.

I am not saying that the team thought that we cannot beat Sweden but we were not sure what to expect because these games in the top division are so new for our team. We didn't know if we will be able to generate much offense, or if the game will be up and down or if we will get stuck in our zone a lot. By no means were our thoughts negative before the game. We were ready to fight no matter what happens. We said to ourselves that any team can be beaten and that we are going to leave it all on the ice, trying our very best.

My roommate was telling me that going into the game, she did not think negatively at all; she did not think about what it's going to be like at all. She did not expect anything. She just went into the game thinking, "I am going to play as hard as I can."

So we just had to wait till the puck was dropped to find out what it’s really like to play in the Top Division. We quickly realized that we are able to generate good offense. On the other hand we noticed Sweden's speed, fast transitions, and their ability to take control of the game. But I think we adjusted quickly and kept up the pace.

There are two moments that stand out to me from the game.
The first one was after the first period (Czech’s were leading 2-0) ; the coach came into the locker room and looked at us for a bit... Then he said: "I was expecting this" (with a smirk on his face)... The whole team started smiling and then laughing because it was meant partially as a joke. Although, our coach believed we can win the game, and as much as he hoped for it, if anyone would have told us before the game that we are going to be winning against Sweden 2:0 after the first period, then it would had been hard for anyone to believe him or her.

The second moment that stands out to me was in the third period. We were winning 3 to 2 but Sweden was on a power play. I remember standing next to my teammates on the bench, and we heard the sound of the post and the crossbar three times within a minute. That was quite scary but we survived…or at least we thought we did. As soon as there was a whistle, we were going to line up for the face of with my line mates; however, we noticed the referee was at the penalty box taking her helmet of because she was going to review the shots on the video. So we all skated back to the bench, and you could hear on the bench several comments such as “no, that wasn’t a goal”…”it could not have been”…”the puck would have not bounced the way it did if it was in”…Comments like these but they faded away as we said: “Let’s go girls! No matter what happens, we keep going at them, and we do not let them take it away from us”, and then the referee stepped on the ice, and signaled that there was no goal. You could feel the relief from our bench but as we said we finished the game, and did not let them come back even though they had another power play after. It was a very exciting game, and I am proud of the way our team played! It was the first step we needed to make but there are still more ahead of us.

I think we played well as a team in this game!  We kept the game simple, and everyone, who stepped on the ice, left it all out there, and even the players on the bench were all being very supportive. It was a fun and exciting game.

Stefanie Marty: "This Year is Special for Swiss Team."

Submitted by GuestBlog on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 10:37 in 2013 World Championship, Events

Veteran Stefanie Marty on her team's first game on Tuesday April 2, 2013.  Swiss 1 Finns 2  

This year’s world championship is special for our team for different reasons.

First, we have a pretty small pool to recruit players from and a number of key players retired or are injured. We have eight rookies which is equal to a third of the team. Having so many younger players brings more responsibilities to the older and more experienced players and at the same time an easy and positive atmosphere on the team.

Second, the fact that this year’s “worlds” are in Canada makes the tournament very attractive and exciting not only for us players but also our friends and families. There are several Swiss fans that travelled all the way over here to support us during the next 10 days.

And third, this being my seventh world championship, it is the first tournament in which we know when going into the tournament that we do not have to fight against relegation. At the same time we want to prove we deserved last year’s success, winning the first medal in a world championship.

 Having said that, today’s game against Finland was a rematch of last year’s bronze medal game. Thus, we expected the Finns to come out strong since they wanted to take revenge on last year’s loss. We went into the game not only with the anticipation to win but also to build on our confidence for the rest of the tournament. As the loss shows, we only partially succeeded.

We started strong with a quick first goal and some great chances. After a great first period, we slacked a little and got punished with two goals against. As usual, Florence Schelling in the net played outstanding and kept us in the game with some spectacular saves. Finally, in the third period we tried to come back but were not able to capitalize on our chances.

Even though we lost the game, there are a lot of positive aspects we can take from today’s game. We were taught that we have to cut down on our penalties. The discipline today was not enough to succeed against a top team. Our young team also learned today that it needs 60 minutes of effort to have a real winning chance against an opponent like Finland. It was the sloppy second period that made us lose this game. In the second intermission we tried to refocus our team. We realized that we had just played a bad period, but we also knew that everything was still possible since the score was only 2:1. Overall, it was a very disappointing loss because the whole team knows that a win was in reach today. At the end it was lacking a bit of emotion and sacrifice that it had needed to win this game.

Looking forward we know that we have to be strong as a team. With a huge game against Canada coming up,( April 3)  every single team member is looking forward to this game. We do everything that we can transform this excitement into positive energy and show our best hockey tomorrow.

 

Canada vs USA at World Champ. Coming April 2.

Submitted by Elizabeth Etue on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 17:13 in 2013 World Championship

Will be reporting on Can/US game, they are playing in the same pool this year. See News on WINIH for breakdown of schedule and pools.

 

Russian Goaltenders: Anna Prugova & Nadezhda Alexandrova.

Submitted by GuestBlog on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 15:44 in 2013 World Championship

Email inteviews with two top Russian Goaltenders March 2013.

Anna Prugova
Date of Birth: 1993 - 11 – 20
Height: 1.75m/5’9”
Weight: 62kg/137lbs
Position: Goaltender,
Club Team: Tornado Moscow Region

Q: How long have you been playing hockey and how old were you when you started playing?

A: I'm addicted to hockey for 9 years. In my native Khabarovsk when I was 11 I saw a game of men's team and I was literally fascinated by goalie's actions. And since then my life in hockey started.

Q: What do you love about hockey? Why are you passionate about the game?

A: Hockey is a dynamic & high speedy game. You have just some moments to make the right decision. Being a goalkeeper I admire that carrying all that ammunition you are still able to do incredible thing. When you are in game the adrenaline overwhelms and you gain a huge amount of satisfaction from games and trainings.

Q: How long have you played on the Russian national team?

A: For 6 years. I have been playing for both Russian National & Junior team since 2007.

Q: What has been your favourite hockey experience?

A: There are a lot of memorable things. A life in sports always passes brightly. Although one of my best moments was in 2007,  Spartakiada (sports festival taking place since Soviet times) of Russian students. It was the first tournament for the team of Far East region. We won the gold and I got the best goaltender prize. After that tournament I was called to the national team. Speaking about club career, for 3 years in a row we have been champions of Russia, but every time was memorable in the unique way. The same I can say about 3 European Champions Cups which we won for the last 4 years. Every single game has its special place in my memory. Something you remember with joy, the other thing upsets you, but anyway it's still a good lesson of life.

Q: If you could change one thing in women’s hockey in Russia, what would it be?

A: To tell the truth the only thing I would like to change is amount of spectators on games. Unfortunately, in Russia women's hockey is not as popular as the men's. You enjoy the game even more playing in sold-out ice palace.

Q: What do you think the strengths of Russia’s team is against Sweden and Germany in the first round at the world championship?

A: Our coaches will tell us about strong and weak points. It's hard to judge about these things being a player. Our job is to show our best in every moment of the game. We are in the World Championship and gonna face the top teams of the World.

Q: What advice do you have for young players who want to be on Russian’s national team?

A: The main thing is playing a desire to play. When you are addicted to hockey it's really hard to stop you in reach your goal. Like playing for national team. All good things come to he who waits.

Nadezhda Alexandrova
Birth: Jan. 3, 1986
Height: 1.72m/5’8”
Weight: 62kg/137lbs
Position: Goaltender
Club Team: 2012/13 SKIF Nizhni Novgorod Russia

Q: How long have you been playing hockey and how old were you when you started playing?
A: I started playing ice hockey at the age of 17 in the famous school, Spartak Moscow. After a year as a skater I become a goaltender & took part in the Moscow Junior Championship for a couple of years. Then I joined my current club SKIF Nizhni Novgorod where I'm currently playing.

Q: How long have you played on the Russian national team?
A: My first call to the national team happened back in 2003.

Q:What has been your favourite hockey experience?
A: I guess I will never forget participation in Torino Olympics in 2006.

Q:What do you think the strengths of Russia’s team is against Sweden and Germany in the first round at the world championship?
A: Our advantage is the strict following to the coach's orders and game targets. Also, our defensive play, high speed, power play game are our strength.

Q: What advice do you have for young players who want to be on Russian’s national team?
A: Young players should train not only during the scheduled trainings in club or National team, but individually as well. The most important thing is to keep the desire of training even with the lack of success.