Thursday, September 1
Switzerland 2, Japan 1 (SO)
Despite playing shorthanded - minus two players to injury and two to COVID protocols - the Swiss managed to outlast their opponent and clinch a semifinal berth for the second consecutive year.
To be fair, Japan didn't exactly do itself any favors, at least in the first period. Although they kept themselves in the game with nine shots on goal in the opening frame, they also spent 4:05 on the disadvantage, including 1:55 on the two-player disadvantage.
After finding their way out of the first period, Japan maintained pace and took the lead with just under six minutes left in the second period. After an initial shot from Ayaka Hitosato, Makoto Ito rushed toward the net and capitalized on a rebound, beating a sprawling Andrea Braendli.
Ito's goal stood as the difference-maker until 6:01 into the third period. The Swiss, shorthanded, tied the game on a 2-on-0 opportunity. Sinja Leemann tapped in the short pass from Evelina Raselli in front, deflecting the puck just enough to get it up and over Braendli's right pad.
With the game tied after 60 minutes, the teams headed to a fruitless overtime. Japan played a strong extra frame (a 10-minute period), outshooting the Swiss by a 9-2 margin, but couldn't find the back of the net.
Leemann scored again in the shootout, while Alina Marti also scored.
The Swiss were without Noemi Ryhner and Laura Zimmermann, both injured, and Lara Stalder and Alina Muller, both in COVID protocols.
United States 12, Hungary 1
A nine-goal middle frame helped power the Americans to a decisive quarterfinal win over Hungary, ensuring their place in Saturday's semifinals. Taylor Heise, who was an offensive powerhouse for the Americans throughout the preliminary round, recorded a hat trick, as did Hannah Bilka.
Heise opened the scoring just 1:36 in, scoring on a 1-on-2 and shooting the puck through two Hungarian defenders. She beat Aniko Nemeth blocker-side to give the Americans the early lead. Despite being outshot 17-1 in the first period, Hungary managed to escape from the opening twenty minutes down by just one.
Heise's second of the game came early in the second period, as she picked up a pass, cut across to the other side of the ice and ripped off a shot from just below the faceoff circle to Nemeth's left.
From there, the goals came fast and furiously, as Bilka quickly made it 3-0 just over thirty seconds later, scoring off a pass from Hannah Brandt below the goal line. Kelly Pannek kept the offense coming, while Abby Roque then redirected the puck for a goal on the power play.
After a couple US penalty kills - including a 3-on-5 - the offense restarted. Jincy Dunne scored on a point shot just past halfway through the game to bolster the lead to six. Bilka then scored her second of the game on a top-shelf shot, before Lee Stecklein and Hannah Brandt tallied just 32 seconds apart. Heise completed the hat trick before the middle frame was over.
Aerin Frankel finally saw her first action of the tournament, coming in to relieve Nicole Hensley for the third period. Hilary Knight added a goal, while Bilka completed the hat trick. For Hungary, Metzler tallied on the power-play with just over seven minutes left, scoring their first-ever goal against the United States.
Hensley stopped all eight shots, while Frankel stopped one of two. Nemeth had 49 saves on 60 shots faced in 51:03, while Zsuzsa Revesz, who turned 17 last month, saw her first action of the tournament & made eight saves on nine shots in 8:57.
With her third-period goal, Hilary Knight became the all-time career points leader in Women's Worlds history.
Czechia 2, Finland 1 (OT)
For the first time in Worlds history, Czechia is heading to the semifinals and is guaranteed to have their best finish in tournament history. (Their previous best finish was sixth place in 2016.) On the flip side, this is the first time ever that Finland did not make it to the semifinals.
It took exactly 37 minutes of action before the first goal of the game was scored. Alena Mills shoveled a backhand shot toward a crowd in front of the net; Daniela Pejsova picked it up at the edge of the slot, held on for a split second and beat goaltender Anni Keisala glove-side. Pejsova has had a spectacular tournament so far & leads Czechia with eight points (4-4).
Pejsova's goal stood up for 11:01, before Noora Tulus tied the game for Finland. Tulus found a loose puck in the left circle and put a wrister into the net. Her tying goal came with about 11 minutes left in regulation.
Overtime ended as quickly as it started. Only 41 seconds in, Aneta Tejralova scored the game-winner short-side, sending Czechia to the semifinals. Tejralova is signed with the PHF's Boston Pride for the upcoming season.
Canada 3, Sweden 0
The end result on paper may not show it, but Swedish goaltender Emma Soderberg was absolutely the star of this show. Facing a strong Canadian team that outscored its opponents 19-7 in the preliminary round, Sweden certainly struggled at times to put shots on net, maintain puck possession and limit Canada's chances. Soderberg truly kept the game close.
Sweden managed just one shot on goal in the first period to Canada's 14, but only relinquished one goal against. Jocelyne Larocque picked the top left corner from the right circle, following a pass from the behind the net via Renata Fast.
Canada failed to capitalize on three power play opportunities in the first half of the middle frame, but managed to take a two-goal lead on a highlight reel goal from Sarah Potomak.
Potomak carried the play by herself, picking up the puck along the boards at center ice, turning around and skating up through the zone and in on net. With a bit of fancy stickwork, she got Soderberg moving. The goalie went down in a split to make the save, but couldn't get tight to the post.
After outshooting their opponent 19-7 in the second period, Canada's onslaught of shots continued in the third. Only one of 24, however, got past Soderberg. Erin Ambrose scored with 6:50 remaining, beating a screened Soderberg on the blocker side on a shot from the high slot.
Final shots on goal were 57-9 in favor of Canada. Ann-Renee Desbiens was perfect in net for the winning team.
Saturday, September 3
- Finland vs. Hungary (placement round) - 6:00 AM Eastern
- USA vs. Czechia (semifinals) - 8:00 AM Eastern (NHL Network)
- Japan vs. Sweden (placement round) - 10:00 AM Eastern
- Canada vs. Switzerland (semifinals) - 12:00 PM Eastern (NHL Network)