The first day of Worlds didn't bring many surprises. In Group B, Finland lit up France for 14 goals – a nice confidence-builder for them as a team. Team USA didn't score first against Japan, thanks to an opportunistic pounce by Haruka Toko, but they did score the next 7. Canada blanked Switzerland 4-0 in what was still a 45-save performance for Andrea Brändli.
Day 2 is when things started to get interesting, with Germany topping Sweden 6-2. Sweden did score first, less than a minute into the game, with Hilda Svensson pouncing on a turnover and putting a quick shot behind a surprised Sandra Abstreiter. Germany tied it on the power play with Franziska Feldmeier's first, a shot from the point that ping-ponged its way behind Emma Söderberg. Germany took the lead on a mini breakaway goal by Laura Kluge that caught Team Sweden standing around in their own zone. Germany increased their lead to 2 on another defensive breakdown, with Team Sweden allowing a 2-on-1 to materialize within their own blueline and Celina Haider capitalizing.
Hilda Svensson got her team within 1 with a shot that went high on Abstreiter. But before the end of the period, Germany had reinstated their 2-goal lead on a smart deflection by Svenja Voigt.
Abstreiter found her footing, and a relentless German team defense kept Sweden from building much momentum, though the game was within reach for them on paper for much of the 60 minutes. In the third period, Haider added her second on a determined play in front of the net to pick up a rebound and put it past Söderberg. Feldmeier added an empty netter for the 6-2 final. Germany put together an unbelievably strong team game, while Sweden was flat-footed and didn't give Söderberg much support. Germany meets Finland later today in what looks like a matchup between the two teams to beat in Group B.
The best tilt so far in the tournament came between Czechia and Japan, who played a thrilling back-and-forth affair that went to overtime. Blanka Škodová got the start for Czechia, while Japan went with Miyuu Masuhara for the second time in 2 days. Both goaltenders played incredibly well in a game that was very offense-focused, but also brought a high level of physicality along the boards and around the nets. Czechia scored first in the final minute of the first period, with Daniela Pejšová picking the perfect moment to shoot at Masuhara while she was being screened by a defender before she could square herself to the shot. It would take until the third period, but Japan did tie the game, with Rui Ukita picking up a rebound from a backhander by Haruka Toko.
In overtime, Czechia was able to pull Škodová on a delayed penalty and patiently played out a 6-on-5 situation to get Masuhara moving. Kateřina Mrázová took a pass from Nemo Neubauerová across the crease and shot from one knee into a wide open net to give Czechia the win.
In the final game of Day 2, France fell to Hungary 4-2. Hungary jumped out to a 3-0 lead late in the second period. Alexandra Huszak scored 2 goals, both from her own relentless forechecking and commitment to staying on the puck, and Regina Metzler added an opportunistic tally from a scramble in the crease. In the third, France's Estelle Duvin added her second of the tournament on a shot through a screen by Baudrit. Unfortunately, with France within 1 of a tie game after a power play goal by Athena Locatelli, Clara Rozier got a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind, and Hungary would spend the bulk of the rest of the game with the advantage. They added a power play goal from Réka Dabasi, and France was unable to build any momentum with the limited time remaining. Hungary played an energetic, physical game and looked like they were having the time of their lives. France played well, but couldn't quite match the tempo that Hungary had set until it was too late, and then had to deal with Rozier's penalty.
Friday April 7
- USA vs. Switzerland - 11:00 AM Eastern (in progress, USA leading)
- Finland vs. Germany - 3:00 PM Eastern
- Czechia vs. Canada - 7:00 PM Eastern
Saturday April 8
- Sweden vs. Hungary - 11:00 AM Eastern
- Japan vs. Canada - 7:00 PM Eastern
TSN is airing all games, while Team USA's games will be aired on NHL Network.