April 9, 2013.
OTTAWA – Anna Shibanova's power-play goal early in the third period broke a scoreless tie and sent Russia to a 2-0 win over Finland to take the bronze medal at the 2013 Women's World Championship.
The Finns were undone by poor shooting and scored only one goal in their final four games of the tournament.
Nadezhda Alexandrova stopped all 32 shots for the victors.
Russia has now won only its second WW medal ever, the last coming in 2001 (bronze). "It's incredible," said 40-year-old Yekaterina Pashkevich, the only member of this year's team who also won bronze 12 years ago. "It's been a long time. And now with Sochi next, we're so excited. We're going to be very competitive there."
The Russians lost only one game all tournament, that in the semi-finals against Canada, and they were inspired by their new general manager, former NHLer Alexei Yashin, who brought in a new head coach and half a dozen fresh faces from last year's team.
"I wouldn't call it pressure, but there were expectations we had, for sure," Pashkevich admitted. "They put a lot of trust in us that we could win a medal."
In the other dressing room, goalie Noora Raty expressed immense disappointment in her team's inability to put the puck in the net. "We scored only five goals in six games," she said. "You can't win like that. It's frustrating watching your team have chance after chance and they can't put the puck in the net. It comes down to will, and I feel like we didn't have that will today. All our shots were easy saves for their goalie."
The first period was calm and tame. Although Finland had a significant advantage in puck possession, Alexandrova wasn’t forced to make many difficult saves. At the other end, Raty faced only four harmless shots.
The best chance of the period came when Olga Sosina made a gorgeous stretch pass to Iya Gavrilova to spring her alone on Raty. Gavrilova, though, blasted a shot high and wide.
Both teams had one power play a piece but nothing much came of either man advantage opportunity.
The second period was also scoreless and not much more dramatic. Neither goalie had to make a great save as defence ruled the day. There were turnovers aplenty between the blue lines and in the offensive end teams shot without much accuracy.
So, for the second time in as many days the Finns headed to the dressing room after two periods in a 0-0 game.
The Russians started the final period of regulation with a power play and couldn't score, but soon enough they had another man advantage, and this time they capitalized. Shibanova's hard slap shot from the top of the circle beat Raty cleanly to the far side at 4:11, and the bronze-medal game had its first goal.
"I didn't see it," Raty said. "Our defenceman was screening me totally. It caught me by surprise."
Four minutes later the Finns had a sensational chance to tie the game. Michelle Karvinen skated in over the Russian blue line, and right in front of her defenceman Pashkevich lost her footing and fell, giving the Finn a clear path to the goal. Karvinen out-deked herself, though, and ran out of room to get a good shot off.
Alexandra Vafina closed out the scoring with an empty netter with 15.8 seconds remaining.
"We've been in training since March 10, and we've worked so hard. We just said to ourselves in the second intermission that we have to leave everything out there," Pashkevich said. "We could not come off the ice after the game knowing we hadn't done everything we could to win."
"Games like these often come down to the power play," Raty noted, "and our power play was absolutely awful. It was frustrating to watch."
ANDREW PODNIEKS (Our thanks to IIHF.com)
Russia vs. Switzerland Sat April 6th, 2013. Quarter-finals.
Swiss Forward Stefanie Marty
It is tough to write about such a disappointing game. It was a game that we had been preparing for for a whole year; a game for which our team did everything to win. And after all, it was a game that we could have won and should have won. In the end it was simply not our night.
For the third consecutive year Russia was our opponent in the world’s quarterfinal. While they beat us in a dramatic game in 2011, we got the win a year ago. So we were prepared for a big fight and a close and low-scoring game. Russia’s goalie had not allowed a goal in the tournament yet and our team is also known to rely on a strong defense.
We started into the game with high expectations in order to confirm last year’s success. We wanted to build on where we left the night before against team USA. We had great team spirit on the ice and on the bench. We tried to carry this spirit over to this game, but we felt some pressure and were not as relaxed as the night before. This was also noticeable on the ice. During the whole game we only had a few plays with great scoring chances. The game lived mostly from individual efforts and mistakes on both sides.
Over the whole game both teams played more or less on the same level and had equal chances. Thus, the game was back and forth over the whole 60 minutes with the Russians being a little bit luckier. It was them who got the lead twice and which we couldn’t answer the second time; the score was 2-1 early in the third period.
What we had had on luck the past year, we were lacking on Saturday. It was not easy to come out of the preliminary round with three losses. But we now know that we are close to any teams ranked 3rd to 8th in the world and are positive that the next time we are going to win such a close game. The experience on Saturday is hopefully going to help us in our last game against Germany and also in next year’s Olympic tournament where we are going to be in the exact same position as this year.
Despite the loss the team is full of confidence that we are going to finish the season with a strong performance and a win.
Russia 2 Switzerland 1
The CR are new to this top level of world championship competition for the 2013 games. They won the Division 1 World Championship last year to qualify for 2013 World Championshp.
Czech Republic vs. Sweden
Sat April 6th 2013 Relegation Round
Captain Alena Polenska's blog on the game:
The second game against Sweden was much more difficult for us than the first one. There were several reasons for that. One of them was our attitude. The first game against Sweden was in a way a bit easier. We knew we were the underdogs of the tournament and not much was expected from us. Thus, we could only surprise, and so we did.
However, the second game was much more difficult, especially as far as mental preparation goes. The day before we lost to Germany and missed the quarterfinals. It was hard for us to stand back up after a tough loss to Germany but we knew we had to find the strength within us to fight again.
Our teammates we discussed different options of how to get the team ready for the next game. We were trying to find a way how to bring up the team mood, and how to find a way to come together for few more games after the disappointment of the last two losses. The decision was to remember why we started playing hockey, and why do we still play despite the fact that we do not gain anything from it except some injuries and lots of bruises. The most important thing is the pure joy of playing the game of hockey with great teammates.
Thus, before our off ice warm up, we sat down as a team and asked everyone to close their eyes and remember the day they started playing hockey. For some of us it was longer ago than for others (haha). We tried to remember the days of our first steps on the ice, first games. Also, we remembered how we stuck to hockey when things were hard. We asked everyone to think about why did they not give up on hockey?! And the answers were not spoken out loud but every one of us answered in her head. Despite of the hard conditions many of us have experienced on and off the ice, we all stuck with hockey because we love it! We were hoping that shifting the focus away from the pressure and stress, the need to win, will help us to ease up a bit and enjoy the game.
We still knew that we needed to win, and there was no doubt about it but we didn’t want to be tied up by the pressure. After this small visualizing activity, we conducted one more team activity, in which each player reminded herself or her teammates what makes her or them succeed in hockey.
Thus, we were mentally ready for the game. Although, Sweden was able to get the first goal, we did not give up and kept fighting back. We (Editor’s note: Polenska scored the goal) were able to get that one goal to tie up the game. The overtime did not start ideally for us; Sweden quickly put pressure in the first seconds of the overtime. There was a controversial situation, when Sweden asked for video referee; however, the referee said it was no goal.
We picked it up after that, and the energy was high on both sides. Players were fighting to get the goal but also playing responsibly in order not to give up any. We could have ended the game when we had a two-man advantage towards the end of the five-minute overtime but we did not shoot enough.
So the game had to be decided in the shootout, the last Swedish player pulled some fancy moves to end the game in their favor.
Sweden 2 Czech Republic 1 in Shoot Out.
Swiss Forward Monika Waidacher
Friday, April 5th, 2013
Yesterday we had the day off so we could really focus on the game today and every individual person could focus on what she needed to do. We played against the US; it was a really important game for us because tomorrow the quarterfinals are starting and we play against Russia. Therefore this game was really important for us to get a lot of good plays and develop some chemistry that we can use tomorrow against Russia.
Everyone came really focused to the rink; we all did our own routine to prepare for the game, I personally always tape my stick, go on the bike for 15 minutes and then we do a team warm up that consists of a couple sprints and stretches. Today our theme was smile. We said to each other when we smile we have much more fun, and we play better because we are not so nervous and we were ready right away from the start.
The game against the US started off really well; we won the first face off and came down right away to their zone. Everyone on our team gave everything they had; we battled for every puck and we had a couple shots on goal. We were all really excited and we were thinking we would go to the first intermission with a 0:0 tie.
Unfortunately, we got a penalty 1 minute before the period ended; the US scored 39 second before the 1st period ended. Then we lost all our focus because just 10 seconds later the US scored again. The Americans took the first three penalties of the game, and although we did not score on the power play we had a couple good scoring chances.
In the second period, our goalkeeper, Florence Schelling was brilliant. The shots were 21-0 and most of those 21 were great chances. After 40 minutes it was still 3:0, that was a really good result for us, and it gave us confidence. The US scored two more times early in the third period. The final score was 5:0.
Overall the game was really good, the whole team was really happy. We had a couple good scoring chances and the most important thing was we got a really good feeling for tomorrow’s game vs. Russia.
Florence Schelling had an outstanding game, she was a huge support for the team, and always kept us in the game.
Captain Alena Polenska
Czech Republic 3 Germany 6 Friday April 5, 2013
Before, I get to today’s game. I would like to talk about our visit to the Czech embassy in Ottawa. We were scheduled to go there during the day when we did not have a game. We were pretty tired after practice and not too thrilled about going; however, it turned out to be a surprizingly fun experience.
We met a few diplomats and several other people from their staff, who were all very nice. It was interesting for us to see what the embassy looks like. The longer we stayed, the more informal it became. We got an unofficial tour of part of their building. They talked about their work and we talked hockey. It was a nice distraction that made us a bit more relaxed.
We were hoping it would help us for the next day. It was supposed to act as a break from the pressure for few hours, and a distraction from the loss against Russia. Then when we got back to the hotel we tried to refocus on hockey again. As soon as we got back to the hotel, we had a team meeting and a long video with the coaches. Then later that night, we had a small team building activity. That’s how our day before a game ended.
As I said yesterday, it is hard to write after a loss, especially a loss that sends you into the relegation rounds. However, the world championship is not over yet, and we need to find some more strength within us to keep fighting.
Today proves that hockey is a game of 60 minutes, and we played pretty well the first 20 minutes , the score was 1-1 but in the second period, Germany was able to capitalize on their power plays scoring two PP goals and 1 equal strength goal. Once again we were not able to come back from it, and for some reason we stopped playing. We have been trying to figure out why but haven’t yet. Trying to pin point where the mistake was becomes sometimes difficult.
After the second period, the German’s were leading 4-1, our coach told us “If they can score three goals within a short time, so can we.” The goal was to score two goals in the first ten minutes; however, we were not able to do that. We started playing a lot better in the end with about 7 minutes remaining. We scored 2 goals and gained some momentum. Too bad we could not erase the second period, and have a fourth one instead. However, as I said, hockey is played for 60 minutes, and any relapse of a team can cost them a game.
We will try to learn from today’s game, and play full 60 minutes tomorrow. We know that the upcoming games against Sweden will be much harder than the first game. But we want to find a way to save our spot in the top divisio
Anja Weisser plays at the University of Prince Edward Island. Below is her blog for the game vs. Czech Republic.
Our game against the Czech was scheduled early today so the team went for another morning jog. Wake up call was at 7 am and we left the hotel at 7.30 am to go for a little jog around the parliament and through downtown. It was an early morning and not everyone was up at this them; however we all knew that today is going to be an important day. Our goal was to beat the Czechs.
We knew that they are not to be underestimated but that we have already proven that we can win against them at the Olympic qualification tournament in Weiden, Germany. After the run we had a big healthy breakfast prepared by the Marriot hotel. We left to the rink around 9:40 am; you could tell that the team was mentally ready for the game.
Our off ice warm up traditionally starts with some two touch soccer. Its a tradition and it loosens the teams tension and gets us warmed up before the actual warm up.
After the on ice warm up the coaches spoke. They were confident about the game which gave us encouragement.
Our 6 - 3 win against Czech Republic was well- deserved; the team put in a lot of effort. In addition, it happened to be a great birthday present for our bus driver.
Our player of the game was Tanja Eisenschmid; she had a really good game and besides the German national team she plays for University of North Dakota.