August 23, 2022

2022 IIHF Women's World Championships Preview



11 min readby Melissa Burgess



2022 IIHF Women's World Championships Preview

Group A


United States

  • 2021 finish: The United States had an expectedly decent performance at the 2021 Worlds, with both of their losses coming to Canada, both in the preliminary round and at the gold medal game. Overall, they outscored their opponents 28-10, and Nicole Hensley finished with a .939 save percentage – fourth-best among goaltenders. Lee Stecklein was selected by the Directorate as the best defender.
  • Forwards: Abby Roque, Alex Carpenter, Amanda Kessel, Grace Zumwinkle, Hannah Bilka, Hannah Brandt, Hayley Scamurra, Hilary Knight, Jesse Compher, Kelly Pannek, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Lacey Eden, Taylor Heise
  • Defense: Caroline Harvey, Cayla Barnes, Jincy Dunne, Lee Stecklein, Megan Keller, Rory Guilday, Savannah Harmon
  • Goaltenders: Aerin Frankel, Maddie Rooney, Nicole Hensley
  • Head coach: John Wroblewski will be making his Worlds debut. His prior experience includes head coaching jobs with the USNTDP and the AHL's Ontario Reign.
  • How are they going to do? Overall, the makeup of this year's United States squad is very similar to last year's gold-medal winning team, but with a few notable changes, including the departures of Dani Cameranesi, Brianna Decker & Megan Bozek. Last year, Maddie Rooney suffered an injury which allowed them to bring Aerin Frankel in last-minute; this year, with Alex Cavallini out (pregnancy), Frankel made the team from the get-go. It's an incredibly talented squad who will have no problems against some of the lower-ranked teams, but will need to step up against others, like Finland and Canada.
  • Keep an eye on: Boston College captain Hannah Bilka is set to make her Worlds debut. Her speed is especially notable, but I'll be curious to see how much of an offensive impact she can have at this level. She recorded 33 points in 34 games last season and over a point-per-game the season prior, but we'll see how her offense translates to the Worlds game. I also liked what I saw from Rory Guilday at the USA Women's National Festival earlier this month.

Canada

Hockey Canada has recently been accused of mishandling reports of alleged sexual assault and gender-based violence by its men's World Juniors players in separate incidents, in 2003 in 2018 [The Athletic, paywall]. The Canadian women's national team put out a statement regarding this, which you can read here.

  • 2021 finish: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Marie-Philip Poulin scored the gold-medal winning goal. Canada captured its first Worlds gold medal since 2012 with the 1-0 overtime victory over the United States, finishing the tournament with a perfect record and a plus-27 goal-differential. Mélodie Daoust was named Tournament MVP, while Erin Ambrose & Natalie Spooner were also named to the All-Star Team. Daoust led all skaters with 12 points.
  • Forwards: Victoria Bach, Emily Clark, Jessie Eldridge, Sarah Fillier, Brianne Jenner, Emma Maltais, Sarah Nurse, Kristin O'Neill, Sarah Potomak, Marie-Philip Poulin, Jamie Lee Rattray, Laura Stacey, Blayre Turnbull
  • Defense: Erin Ambrose, Ashton Bell, Renata Fast, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Ella Shelton, Micah Zandee-Hart
  • Goaltenders: Kristen Campbell, Ann-Renee Desbiens, Emerance Maschmeyer
  • Head coach: Troy Ryan returns. Last year was his first tournament as the team's head coach. After guiding the team to gold at Worlds in 2021, he also led Canada to Olympic gold in Beijing.
  • How are they going to do? Canada heads into Worlds without two of its top scorers from last year's tournament. Mélodie Daoust was not available, and Natalie Spooner is out (pregnancy). That's a lot of offense to replace, but with pieces like Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Fillier, I think Canada will be just fine. They are undoubtedly the most dangerous team in the tournament, looking to build off last year's gold and their Olympic gold.
  • Keep an eye on: Meaghan Mikkelson returns to the national team after missing the Olympics with a significant knee injury. This will be her first Worlds appearance since 2017. Victoria Bach will also look to make a splash, after being named to the Olympic team as an alternate. Canada is the team to beat, and other teams will have to get creative to find ways around their strong defense and to stifle their overpowering offense.

Finland

  • 2021 finish: Finland captured its third straight medal, handily defeating Switzerland 3-1 to win bronze. Overall, their record through the tournament was mixed (4-3), though their two preliminary round wins were huge: a 4-0 victory over ROC and a 6-0 win over Switzerland. Anni Keisala was named the tournament's best goaltender with a 1.43 GAA and .949 save percentage, while Petra Nieminen averaged a point-per-game.
  • Forwards: Elisa Holopainen, Michelle Karvinen, Julia Liikala, Petra Nieminen, Jenniina Nylund, Emmi Rakkolainen, Sofianna Sundelin, Susanna Tapani, Noora Tulus, Viivi Vainikka, Sanni Vanhanen, Emilia Vesa, Kiira Yrjänen
  • Defense: Jenni Hiirikoski, Sini Karjalainen, Nelli Laitinen, Krista Parkkonen, Sanni Rantala, Ronja Savolainen, Ella Viitasuo
  • Goaltenders: Anni Keisala, Meeri Räisänen, Jenna Silvonen
  • Head coach: Juuso Toivola steps in as head coach, having succeeded Pasi Mustonen in February. He's been with the national program at various levels  (Worlds, Olympics, U18s) since 2002.
  • How are they going to do? Finland has the best chance out of any team to beat Canada or the US, or at least put up a good fight against them. Their program has grown immensely since 2019, including winning silver at the 2019 Worlds and bronze at the Olympics. With Anni Keisala back in net & Petra Nieminen returning up front, they're in a good position to snag another medal.
  • Keep an eye on: I'm always interested in watching the youngest players at a tournament like this, and 17-year-old Sanni Vanhanen is no different. She skated in seven games in the 2021 tournament (her debut) and also appeared in seven games at Beijing. She's by far the youngest player on the team and is set to play with HIFK in the upcoming season.

Switzerland

  • 2021 finish: The Swiss lost all four of their preliminary round games, and only managed to score once in four games. Their luck turned in the quarterfinals when they beat ROC in overtime on a goal by Laura Zimmermann, then ran out in the subsequent 4-0 loss to the gold medalists, Canada, and fell in the bronze medal game.
  • Forwards: Lara Stalder, Kaleigh Quennec, Lisa Rüedi, Evelina Raselli, Laura Zimmermann, Sinja Leemann, Noemi Ryhner, Alina Müller, Dominique Rüegg, Alina Marti, Lena Marie Lutz, Mara Frey, Emma Ingold
  • Defense: Shannon Sigrist, Nicole Vallario, Stefanie Wetli, Alessia Baechler, Lara Christen, Janine Hauser, Nadine Hofstetter
  • Goaltenders: Andrea Brändli, Saskia Maurer, Alexandra Lehmann
  • Head coach: Colin Muller has been with the team since 2019.
  • How are they going to do? The Swiss national team has really improved over recent years. Their fourth-place finish in 2021 was their best at Worlds since 2008, when they also finished fourth. Breaking that top three certainly won't be easy, and I'm not sure I see it happening this year, but they're definitely trending upwards and also finished fourth at the Olympics.
  • Keep an eye on: Saskia Maurer was Switzerland's top goalie last year, with a 1.96 GAA and a .942 save percentage in five games. She allowed seven goals on 120 shots faced and had 29 saves in the bronze medal game.

Japan

  • 2021 finish: Japan went 3-1 in the preliminary round, but hit a brick wall when they faced the United States in the quarterfinals. There, they lost 10-2 to end their tournament & finished sixth.
  • Forwards: Haruka Toko, Akana Shiga, Suzuka Taka, Hikaru Yamashita, Makoto Ito, Remi Koyama, Chisato Miyazaki, Yoshino Enomoto, Yumeka Wajima, Hinata Lack, Ami Sasaki, Miyuri Ogawa
  • Defense: Shiori Koike, Aoi Shiga, Akane Hosoyamada, Shiori Yamashita, Ayaka Hitosato, Kanami Seki, Kohane Sato
  • Goaltenders: Miyuu Masuhara, Akane Konishi, Riko Kawaguchi
  • Head coach: Yuji Iizuka, who has been with the senior Japanese womens' team since 2007, returns for another tournament.
  • How are they going to do? Like others, Japan's national program has grown immensely over recent years. They finished first in Group B at the Olympics and sixth overall, in their first time ever directly qualifying for the Olympics. Playing against competition like Canada, the US and Finland will provide an intriguing challenge for them.
  • Keep an eye on: Their roster as a whole. They've had the most turnover of any country compared to last year; more than half of their players this year are new, including several players making their Worlds debut. I'd also keep an eye on 16-year-old defender Kohane Sato, who had five points in four games at the Division IA U18s earlier this year.


Group B


Czechia

  • 2021 finish: 7th. They went 4-0-0-2 with an impressive plus-11 goal differential, but fell to Finland 1-0 in the quarterfinals and then dropped their placement game to Japan.
  • Forwards: Alena Mills, Denisa Křížová, Klára Hymlarová, Kateřina Mrázová, Michaela Pejzlová, Natálie Mlýnková, Kristýna Pátková, Vendula Přibylová, Noemi Neubauerová, Karolína Erbanová, Laura Lerchová, Agáta Sarnovská
  • Defense: Aneta Tejralová, Daniela Pejšová, Klára Seroiszková, Dominika Lásková, Pavlína Horálková, Sára Čajanová, Tereza Radová, Andrea Trnková
  • Goaltenders: Viktorie Švejdová, Klára Peslarová, Blanka Škodová
  • Head coach: Carla MacLeod was named head coach of the Czech women's team in April. She previously served as an assistant coach for the Japanese national team after retiring from playing in 2010.
  • How are they going to do? I'd expect them to finish about middle-of-the-road at this year's tournament. Their big-name players, like top scorers Alena Mills & Vendula Přibylová, are all returning. It's going to be a matter of how they square off against top teams like Finland that will be the deciding factor.
  • Keep an eye on: With two returning goaltenders from last year's tournament, will Blanka Škodová get a chance to play? Škodová recently finished her fourth season at the University of Vermont, where she averaged 2.30 GAA and .901 save percentage. She's headed to Minnesota-Duluth in the fall.

Germany

  • 2021 finish: Germany finished 8th. After splitting the preliminary round, they fell to a tough Canada team 7-0 in the quarterfinal game.
  • Forwards: Theresa Wagner, Svenja Voigt, Nicola Eisenschmid, Bernadette Karpf, Marie Delarbre, Sofia Weidenfelder, Laura Kluge, Nina Christof, Jule Schiefer, Anne Bartsch, Franziska Feldmeier, Celina Haider, Annabella Sterzik, Lilli Welcke, Luisa Welcke
  • Defense: Carina Strobel, Lena Düsterhöft, Tabea Botthof, Tanja Eisenschmid, Nina Jobst-Smith, Daria Gleissner, Ronja Hark, Celine Mayer, Tara Schmitz, Heidi Strompf
  • Goaltenders: Sandra Abstreiter, Franziska Albl, Lilly Uhrmann
  • Head coach: Thomas Schädler returns as head coach after making his Women's Worlds debut last year.
  • How are they going to do? After finishing near the bottom in last year's tournament, then failing to make it to the Olympics with two losses in the qualification round, Germany is looking to bounce back in a big way.
  • Keep an eye on: Special teams. In last year's tournament, Germany's penalty kill was third-best, at 94.12 percent. They allowed just one power-play goal against on 17 disadvantages. However, on the flip side, their power play left a lot to be desired, scoring just once on 22 advantages (4.55%).

Sweden

  • 2021 finish: Sweden didn’t participate in the 2021 iteration of Worlds. The Division I Group A tournament, which they should’ve participated in alongside Austria, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovakia, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Forwards: Josefin Bouveng, Emma Murén, Linnea Johansson, Sofie Lundin, Jenny Antonsson, Sara Hjalmarsson, Celine Tedenby, Hanna Thuvik, Thea Johansson, Felicia Wikner-Zienkiewicz, Lina Ljungblom, Hanna Olsson, Michelle Löwenhielm, Olivia Carlsson
  • Defense: Anna Kjellbin, Linnéa Andersson, Mira Jungåker, Ebba Berglund, Jessica Adolfsson, Mina Waxin, Maja Nylén Persson, Paula Bergström
  • Goaltenders: Ida Boman, Emma Söderberg, Ellen Jonsson
  • Head coach: Ulf Lundberg has been Sweden's coach since 2020.
  • How are they going to do? It's not about how you get there; it's about what you do with the opportunity. That's especially true in this case for Sweden, who returns to the tournament due to the IIHF's decision to ban ROC/Russia and Belarus from international competition. This will be their first Worlds appearance in 2019, when they finished ninth – their worst, historically – and were relegated to Division IA.
  • Keep an eye on: 17-year-old defender Mira Jungåker is coming off a breakout season with HV71. Obviously, a defender's performance cannot be evaluated based solely on offensive output, but Jungåker showcased a whole different side to her game, with 21 points (6-15) in 35 games. She was sixth among defenders in the SDHL in scoring – as a 16-year-old!

Hungary

  • 2021 finish: Hungary’s debut in the top division saw them finish ninth in the standings, with a 1-0-0-3 record. After falling to Germany, the Czech Republic and Japan, they swiftly defeated Denmark 5-1 in their final preliminary round game. Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi recorded three points, while Alexandra Gowie had two goals.
  • Forwards: Petra Szamosfalvi, Imola Horváth, Fanni Gasparics, Réka Dabasi, Alexandra Rónai, Regina Metzler, Míra Seregély, Emma Kreisz, Kinga Jókai-Szilágyi, Tamara Gondos, Alexandra Huszák, Zsófia Pázmándi, Lara Strobl, Hayley Williams
  • Defense: Bernadett Németh, Lotti Odnoga, Franciska Kiss-Simon, Jelena Grkovic, Sarah Knee, Taylor Baker, Lilla Faggyas, Adél Márton
  • Goaltenders: Anikó Németh, Fruzsina Szabó, Zsuzsa Révész
  • Head coach: Pat Cortina currently serves as head coach of SC Riessersee.
  • How are they going to do? With a lot of returning players, I'd expect a similar result to last year. This is only their second year in the top division, but a lot of these players are well-familiar with one another, playing on either KMH Budapest or MAC Budapest together. The addition of young players like 16-year-old Tamara Gondos and 17-year-old goalie Zsuzsa Révész are great examples of the growth of Hungary's women's national program.
  • Keep an eye on: Hayley Williams is going to be an interesting one to watch. This is her Worlds debut; after a few years in the NWHL and CWHL, she moved overseas and has played in Hungary since 2020. This past season, she registered 27 points (13-14) in 18 games with KMH Budapest and has skated in nine games with the national team.

Denmark

  • 2021 finish: Denmark’s return to the top division for the first time since 1992 saw them finish the tournament without a victory. They scored three goals and gave up 15 to their opponents, and going 0-4, were eliminated in the preliminary round.
  • Forwards: Mia Bau Hansen, Nathalie Perry, Michele Brix, Lilli Friis-Hansen, Silke Glud, Josefine Jakobsen, Nicoline Jensen, Julie Oksbjerg, Julie Østergaard, Josefine Persson, Maria Peters, Sofia Skriver, Mille Sørensen, Michelle Weis
  • Defense: Amalie Andersen, Josephine Asperup, Simone Jacquet Thrysøe, Amanda Refsgaard, Emma Russell, Sofie Skott
  • Goaltenders: Lisa Jensen, Mille Kieler Jensen, Cassandra Repstock-Romme
  • Head coach: Bjorn Edlund brings years of experience with MODO in the SDHL. He has served in both head coaching & general manager positions there, including this season as GM.
  • How are they going to do? This is their second year in the top division after finishing 10th last year. They also finished 10th at the Olympics. Denmark's women's hockey program has grown immensely over the last decade, with the number of female players in the country registered with the IIHF nearly doubling between 2014 and 2020. I would expect a similar record as last year, with a very similar roster composition.
  • Keep an eye on: The team as a whole. While they won't compete for a medal this year, it's fun to see the women's game expanding and Denmark's game growing.

Schedule (all times Eastern US)

Thursday, August 25

  • Japan vs. United States - 9:00 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Germany vs. Hungary - 9:30 AM Eastern
  • Finland vs. Canada - 1:00 PM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Denmark vs. Sweden - 1:30 PM Eastern

Friday, August 26

  • Switzerland vs. Japan - 12:00 PM Eastern
  • Hungary vs. Czechia - 12:30 PM Eastern

Saturday, August 27

  • United States vs. Finland - 9:00 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Sweden vs. Germany - 9:30 AM Eastern
  • Canada vs. Switzerland - 1:00 PM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Czechia vs. Denmark - 1:30 PM Eastern

Sunday, August 28

  • Japan vs. Canada - 9:00 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Denmark vs. Hungary - 11:00 AM Eastern

Monday, August 29

  • Finland vs. Japan - 9:00 AM Eastern
  • Germany vs. Czechia - 9:30 AM Eatern
  • United States vs. Switzerland - 1:00 PM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Hungary vs. Sweden - 1:30 PM Eastern

Tuesday, August 30

  • Sweden vs. Czechia - 9:30 AM Eastern
  • Switzerland vs. Finland - 10:00 AM Eastern
  • Denmark vs. Germany - 1:30 PM Eastern
  • Canada vs. United States - 2:00 PM Eastern (NHL Network)

Thursday, September 1

  • Quarterfinals - 6:15 AM Eastern
  • Quarterfinals - 10:15 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Quarterfinals - 11:30 AM Eastern
  • Quarterfinals - 2:15 PM Eastern (NHL Network)

Saturday, September 3

  • Placement Round - 6:00 AM Eastern
  • Semifinals - 8:00 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Placement Round - 10:00 AM Eastern
  • Semifinals - 12:00 PM Eastern (NHL Network)

Sunday, September 4

  • Placement Round - 5:00 AM Eastern
  • Bronze Medal Game - 9:00 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
  • Gold Medal Game - 1:30 PM Eastern (NHL Network)

Additional broadcast info will be added as it becomes available.



Filed under: ice hockey; team usa; team canada; Hockey Canada; 2022 iihf women's world championship; team finland; team sweden; team japan; team switzerland; team czechia; team germany; team hungary; team denmark

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