2024 IIHF Women's World Championship: Quarterfinals
- 19 min read

2024 IIHF Women's World Championship: Quarterfinals

2024 IIHF Women's World Championship: Quarterfinals by Melissa Burgess, Nicole Haase

Finland 3, Switzerland 1

by Melissa Burgess

Giving up early goals has been a bit of a problem for Switzerland so far in this tournament. They'd relinquished quick goals in both of their last two preliminary games; Czechia scored just 37 seconds in on April 9, while Finland scored 42 seconds in the day prior. After going down early in those games, the Swiss knew they wanted to avoid that again – and they did.

This time, it was Switzerland who struck first, and it only took them 1:22 to get on the board. 18-year-old Ivana Wey kicked things off, picking up the puck on a pass to the middle of the ice and backhanding it in for her first goal of the tournament.

Unfortunately for the Swiss, that was all the offense they could muster, and Finland got three somewhat fortunate goals past Andrea Brändli. The first was an odd shot from Petra Nieminen at the side of the net that banked in off Alessia Baechler's skate. The second, which came past the midway point of the game, saw Susanna Tapani redirect a shot from Petra Nieminen in front. Finally, Nelli Laitinen made it 3-1 on an innocent shot from the slot that hit Stefanie Wetli's stick, popped up in the air and sailed over the goaltender.

Switzerland managed just 16 shots on goal. Comparatively, Finland put 34 shots on net and came out on top. Brändli overall has had an excellent tournament and she truly appears to be the backbone of the Swiss national team right now. Finland, meanwhile, will want to work on staying out of the box. It hasn't been a huge problem yet, but they're about to face one of the top power plays (USA) and will want to limit those opportunities.

What we learned

  • Switzerland's power play is struggling – Okay, we didn't exactly learn this... we knew this, but Thursday's quarterfinal game certainly didn't help. Switzerland went 0-for-6 on the power play Thursday and scored just once on 15 opportunities over the course of the tournament. That's just not going to cut it, especially in games like this where even a single shot/goal can mean the difference.
  • Hockey can be a game of bounces – Sometimes, they go your way. Sometimes, they don't. None of the three goals against were particularly bad; it's a small victory, but you've got to take what the game gives you. This game was honestly pretty closely contested, and if the bounces and luck had gone the other way, it could've been Switzerland moving on.
  • With that said, seeding and how this whole tournament works is so funky – How is it that Switzerland, who hasn't won a single game here in Utica, gets to play for fifth place, instead of Sweden, who won three preliminary round games? I get it, sort of, but it just doesn't seem fair. It comes down to looking at this tournament independently of anything else, or looking at it as part of a bigger picture, which is how Switzerland ended up in Group A.

Standout Performances

  • Finland D Jenni Hiirikoski – Hiirikoski played strong defensively and led all skaters across both teams, playing over half the game (31:10 in ice time). As the team captain, she's expected to carry a lot of responsibility, and she's done that on a steady basis. Over the tournament, she's averaged 26:07 per game and leads the team with six points, including five assists.
  • Switzerland G Andrea Brändli – She's used to facing a lot of shots and has been the busiest in this tournament by a decent margin. She's faced 168 shots in five games. Honestly, she did everything you could ask for from a goaltender, and then some, and it's a safe bet to say that this team as a whole wouldn't be where they are today without her in net. It was also pretty clear from speaking with her after the game that she feels quite positive about the national program and its growth. (If you aren't yet one, paying subscribers of VP have access to postgame media interview videos from the quarterfinals, and there's lots of great stuff in there!)
  • Finland D Nelli Laitinen – Between Hiirikoski, Laitinen, and Ronja Savolainen, it's clear that Finland's defense isn't afraid to get involved offensively, which helps boost the team's overall scoring epth. Paired with Hiirikoski, Laitinen skated 25:59 on Thursday and had a goal and an assist; she is the only other Finnish skater to be averaging over 20 minutes of ice time a night. Two of Finland's top three scorers in this tournament are defenders.
  • Switzerland F Ivana Wey – Wey's goal was a huge one for the Swiss. She's also one of the youngest players on the team, at just 18 years old, but she'll be one to watch for years to come. She had a whopping 79 points in 15 games with EVZ this season and wore an A for the U18 team.


"We came out flying in the first couple of minutes. Especially after the last two games where we got scored on in literally the first minute, it was huge coming out and scoring that first goal in basically the second minute." – Switzerland G Andrea Brändli

"Overall, I think it was a solid game. Puck luck wasn't really on our side. They had three, I would say, lucky goals, but that's how the sport is. At some point, you've got to admit that. It's brutal... we did everything we can. They gave us a great game." – Brändli

"We've got all day today [Thursday] and maybe tomorrow [Friday] morning to get our heads out of that loss, because it does hurt, it does hurt a lot. Obviously, for a tournament like that, you want to go for a medal. It didn't work out this year, but we still have something to prove and I think we can do that on Saturday." – Brändli on playing the placement game on Saturday

"Especially this year, when we look at the roster, we have like six rookies. Ivana Wey, one of our youngest players, scored the goal we had. I think that's huge, looking especially towards the Olympics coming up. It's huge that we can bring those guys up into the roster now and show them around, how it is, the big stage." – Brändli on the growth she sees in Switzerland

"We stayed with them for almost the whole 60 minutes. We had a good start with the goal. Brändli in net was out of this world again and kept us in the game. We battled hard. Had to shorten the bench a little in the end, energy level was on their side." – Switzerland F Alina Müller

"It was a really big win for us. It's good to be back in the medal round now. We played a full 60 minutes and lots of good PK from our team, so really happy with that." – Finland G Sanni Ahola

"Those backhanders, I hate those. I think I was still moving while she was shooting it, so I just couldn't get my body behind the shot. It was a good shot." – Ahola on the goal against from Ivana Wey

"There were a lot of penalties today. Obviously, we have to be better in those for the next game. We cannot take that many penalties, but we did well today." – Nelli Laitinen on Finland's penalty kill

Czechia 1, Germany 0

by Nicole Haase

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the goaltending in this game was outstanding. Germany’s Sandra Abstreiter and Czechia’s Klára Peslarová each kept their team in the game time and time again. The game was scoreless until the final eight minutes of play as neither team was able to break through. 

Germany had fewer dangerous chances with just 17 shots on goal, but Nina Jobst-Smith had a couple of nice shots from distance, Emily Nix had a breakaway and Laura Kluge really pushed in the final frame. But they were absolutely excellent on defense and were well-prepared for Czechia's offensive push. They blocked shots, picked up sticks and were spectacular in recovery. It was calm and collected and obviously it helps knowing they have Abstreiter back there, but they really prevented so many pucks from even making it to her and by keeping Czechia to the perimeter, forced them to adjust their approach. At one point, Křížová had a shot ping the post that the ref called a goal. The review quickly showed it did not actually go in the net and we played on. 

Carla MacLeod said that by the time the third period came around, they knew if they were going to score it would have to come from below the goal line or from the blue line – in the end it was kind of both as Michaela Pejzlová gathered it from down low and fed it out to Aneta Tejralová, who settled and slid it along the top of the zone to Daniela Pejšová. Pejšová one-timed it to the upper corner while Abstreiter was screened. 

Denisa Křížová was given a game misconduct for a hit from behind with 2:55 left in the third period, so Germany closed out the game on a power play, but could not find the equalizer. Czechia advances to the semifinals for the third straight tournament.

What We Learned:

  • Shrinking gap – My biggest takeaway from the first two semifinals is how close both were. The difference in each game was a couple of inches and bounces and that is such a far cry from the feeling I got from Switzerland and Germany in Brampton. Switzerland players and coaches were without words for how frustrated they were with how far behind they felt. Germany’s performance led to an overhaul in their coaching staff. The ultimate goal for everyone is to compete with the USA and Canada regularly, but for all the other teams, a big step on the way to that is to be like Czechia. The Czechs have taken such massive steps in the past few years and really shown what is possible. Germany coach Jeff MacLeod explicitly said that his team wants to follow Czechia's arc and that in playing them so close in the semifinal, the Germans know that they have made strides and are moving in the right direction. He knows that Abstreiter is a massive part of that and that they have to be more consistent scorers, but the confidence and the hope from a game like that are so massive for the psyche of these players. Abstreiter said their goal was to advance to the quarterfinals and they did and were in the fight for a semifinal berth for the full 60 minutes. That's so big for them.
  • Czechia fine tuning – I was impressed by the patience of Czechia in this game. They've made so many big steps in the past few years, but I think it bodes well that now they are refining. The big stuff is more obvious and noteworthy for some, but this is the stuff that will serve them in the long run and make them a top caliber team in an ongoing fashion. They adjusted in game and they didn't get frustrated. They found a different way. They aren’t one-dimensional. 

Standout Performances

  • Czechia D Daniela Pejšová and Aneta Tejralová – Tejralová led the team with 25:57 played while Pejšová logged 24:52, which is impressive all on its own, but Pejšová is also the lone goal-scorer of the game. Germany was absolutely stellar at clogging up the middle and keeping Czechia to the outside, so the blue liners had to stretch the game and bring the offense from further out. Pejšová's shot was beautiful – Abstreiter was screened and it was perfectly placed. Both players have a strong shot, but with the offensive firepower and skating of their forwards, the defense isn't necessarily counted on in the offensive zone. That they were so good on defense and kick started the offense was impressive 
  • Germany F Emily Nix – The 26 year old began playing with ERC Ingolstadt in the DEFL in Germany and had 32 points on 16 goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and it feels like the move has really opened up her game. She showed off some really nice skating and stickhandling through the Czechia offense, used her size to be really impactful along the boards and just really stood out as the player doing the most on offense for Germany. 
  • Germany G Sandra Absreiter  – Ask me if I care that this is really obvious and you all already knew how great she is. I don’t and I will not let it go unsaid now that we’re in this format of recap. She's great. Our press row seats are directly on the glass behind the net and to watch her reaction time this close was a treat. You'd think a puck was past her and then she'd make an easy stop. Truly unreal. 


"We have to realize that every game is hard. Today is proof that every game is hard. No one is going to give you anything. We have to get the self-confidence up a little more." – Czechia F Noemi Neubauerova

"Shots on net and sticking together as a team. Everyone is supporting each other on and off the ice and I think that makes the difference because we build up so much energy." – Neubauerova on what has made the difference for Czechia in this tournament

"Obviously we’re not satisfied with where we are and we want to continue to build on what we’ve done, but we can be really proud of what we’ve accomplished – our 4-0 record in pool B is a huge accomplishment for us and we’re only going to continue to prove ourselves and continue to take those opportunities." – Germany D Nina Jobst-Smith

"We're in any game. We have our chances and the next time a bounce goes our way, this is our game. That’s obviously something to be proud of and give hope." – Jobst-Smith

"Of course it's tough right now, but our girls know now that we're with the top teams. We’re playing with a team that's getting a bronze medal, finishing third. It’s really good for our program. Obviously for the coaching staff we're thrilled with the compete level and where we are." – Germany coach Jeff MacLeod

"The whole game, it gives you confidence right from the start. We know that when she's on, we're definitely in every game. But on top of her game, it's what she does behind the scenes and in practice and in the dressing room. It's what we need as a hockey program to have such a great leader." – Jeff MacLeod on goalie Sandra Abstreiter

"Great win. Great game. Both teams – just hard fought. There wasn't a lot of room out on the ice surface for us or Germany. I'm really proud of our effort to maintain our focused energy, an excited energy and found a way to get it done. That's part of learning to win." – Czechia coach Carla MacLeod

"We knew that they did such a good job protecting the middle of the ice and clogging up the slot that it was either going to be from the goal line out, where you could turn toe or it was going to be from the blue line down where you could find some space." – Carla MacLeod

Canada 5, Sweden 1

by Melissa Burgess

Try as they might, Sweden just couldn't keep up with Canada in this one, although for much of the game, it was closer than the final score makes it appear. Sweden just seemed to lag, and failed to produce enough energy or effort to get on pace. Canada scored twice in the opening six minutes on goals from Renata Fast and Laura Stacey, and they never looked back.

Hilda Svensson had the only goal for Sweden, but it was a beautiful one. A tic-tac-toe pass executed by Sofie Lundin and Hanna Olsson found Svensson, who took a quick shot that beat Emerance Maschmeyer on the power play. Although Sweden's team game did seem to improve a bit as the game went on, it got away from them quickly later on.

Fast scored her second of the night on a point shot that got past a screened Emma Söderberg, and Canada added to its lead in the third period. Meanwhile, Sweden went over seven minutes of game action without a shot on goal. Natalie Spooner continued her great season with Canada's fourth goal of the game, receiving a pass from Emma Maltais and sniping it in. Just 46 seconds later, Jaime Bourbonnais added to the lead on a high shot off a cross-ice feed from Marie-Philip Poulin.

In the end, Canada did all the right things, and it paid off. And well, when you outshoot your opponent 44-18, you'd better win, right?

What We Learned

  • Canada takes its goal song very seriously – Renata Fast provided a bit of background in post-game on Canada's goal song choice (ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!") and said that the team got together and debated for over an hour on which song to pick! Even the coaches got in on the voting. Other options included Celine Dion and Flo Rida's "My House." (Donna Spencer from The Canadian Press asked the question.)
  • Sweden isn't far off – Despite the fact that the standings will show them finishing this year's tournament in 7th place, Sweden really doesn't feel far off from making it further. They played Canada extremely well and stayed with them for most of the game, and their tournament play overall was solid. Their offense is definitely there; they were the highest-scoring team in the preliminary round, with 17 goals-for. As I said earlier, it's a shame that their tournament is over with this loss, and that the final standings won't truly reflect what they were able to accomplish.
  • Canada does a good job of spreading the wealth – I'm not just talking about the offense here, either. Some of the teams in this tournament seem to rely very heavily on specific players, whether it's their top line or top defensive pairing. For the most part, Canada seems to balance things well. Only one player (Renata Fast) had over 20 minutes of ice time, and though I wouldn't mind seeing the fourth line get a little more playing time, it's been good bench management by Troy Ryan.
  • Canada's power play could use a little work – This team does so many things incredibly well, from the big picture to the smaller details, but one thing they could stand to improve is their power play. In five games, Canada has had 14 opportunities but scored only once on the advantage. That's nearly 30 minutes of time on the power play! Clearly, they don't exactly need the advantage, as they're getting plenty of scoring elsewhere, but it's still something to be mindful of.

Standout Performances

  • Sweden F Hilda Svensson - Svensson had the lone goal for Sweden, but she also led the team with three shots on goal and I really liked watching her play over the course of this one. She's tied for fifth in the scoring across the tournament, with four goals and two assists for six points in five games.
  • Canada's top line – No surprise here, right? The combo of Sarah Fillier, Brianne Jenner and Marie-Philip Poulin had 15 shots on goal, and even if they weren't necessarily responsible for putting the puck in the net, they certainly made good things happen. Poulin ended the game with one assist and won 12 of 14 faceoffs taken. Extrapolate that out to their defense, too. Jocelyne Larocque and Renata Fast combined with that top line? Lethal. Fast had two goals and was a plus-3, while Larocque had a pair of assists and was also a plus-3. Canada has depth throughout its roster and got scoring from across the board, but that top unit provided plenty of leadership on and off the ice to get things going.


"Sweden, they gave us a good game. It was a little bit of a grittier win, but we're okay with that. We can win many different ways." – Canada G Emerance Maschmeyer

"We knew going into it that there would be some physicality, just given the league that they all play in and the previous times we've played them, but we're all used to it." – Canada D Renata Fast

"Continue to stick to what we do best. Our offense, getting traffic in front... we like to play low and create opportunities low, but also create opportunities high. We have D that are very agile and very offensive-minded, but I think taking care of business defensively will set us up for offense." – Maschmeyer

"Every game's important. We're taking it game by game.  [This game] forced us to work on some things that we've been focusing on as a group... our entries, being responsible defensively. We're right where we want to be right now." – Fast

"Good teams find ways to win games, and I think that's exactly what we did. We weathered the storm, we took opportunity wherever we could, and I think we did what we needed to do." – Maschmeyer

"One thing that's not noticed enough is in games like that, where [the goalie] is not consistently getting shots, it's really hard. She had some huge saves for us, and we're very thankful for that. She kept us in the game." – Fast on Maschmeyer

"They play really fast. You have to be ready all the time, and play the puck when it goes fast. You learn a lot in this game." – Sweden F Hilda Svensson on Team Canada

"I don't think it's a 5-1 game today. I think we played better than we did against them last year. I think I had too weak of a start for our team, so we started with an uphill battle, but I think we fought through the whole game. We got that goal called off because they had blown the whistle, and after that, we just couldn't close in on them, but I'm proud of how we battled." – Sweden G Emma Söderberg

"The first and second period here was really good. Every game was good except the Germany game that we should've scored. I think it would have been different today if we just could've won that game." - Svensson on Sweden's overall tournament play

USA 10, Japan 0

by Nicole Haase

There's not a ton to say here. The Americans were expected to dominate this game and they did. Lacey Eden scored less than four minutes in on a shot from a ridiculous angle that deflected through traffic and found the back of the net. It didn't get any better for Japan from there. Hilary Knight scored from a knee while falling and Alex Carpenter scored the first of her two goals and USA was up 3-0 at the first intermission. 

That was probably going to be insurmountable for Japan, but the Americans made sure of it by lighting the lamp six times in the second. Japan switched goalies after Joy Dunne scored her first senior team goal to make it a 6-0 lead. 

Carpenter led the US with two goals and two assists. Abbey Murphy also scored twice and Knight had a goal and three assists. Tessa Janecke, Caroline Harvey, Kirsten Simms and Dunne were the other goal scorers. 

USA coach John Wroblewski was happy with his team’s attention to detail and that they stayed disciplined and focused on the bigger goal throughout the game. They were still fighting along the boards and winning battles, moving the puck well and connecting on passes.

What We Learned:

  • New linemates – The game did give Wroblewski the opportunity to put different line and player combinations together and test them in a game setting. One of them was pairing Murphy and Janecke alongside Hannah Bilka, which led to three US goals – two for Murphy and one for Janecke. All three goals showed off the speed, reading of the ice and passing of the trio as they held the zone, didn’t force chances and found openings to play off each other. Murphy's second goal and Janecke's came minutes apart and while the build up looked different, ultimately were mirrors of each other: one fed the other with a pinpoint pass that was immediately put into the back of the net. 
  • Speed kills – Akane Hosomayada said that the biggest difference between Group A and Group B games is the speed that Group A plays at. The game was a massive step up from how they'd played the rest of the tournament and it was difficult to overcome. 
  • Opportunities – Hosomayada also pointed out that her team had a few chances to score in this game and noted that they have to get better at finishing them. They will be few and far between against a team like the USA and they have to capitalize. 

Standout Performances

  • USA F Abbey Murphy – This game showed off all the best parts of her game while she kept her physicality in check. No penalties, two goals an assist and three shots on goal is a pretty good night. She is fast, she has great vision and instincts on the ice, she can do things with cuts of her skates and stick handling that few others can and she's just so, so dynamic. The way she can reset within the zone and rework an attack is not something I've seen much of, much less from a 21-year-old. Look past the hard shot or the quick skating or the physicality and watch the details of her game because they're phenomenal and a lot of fun when you start to notice them.
  • Japan F Haruka Toko – If one player could will her team to a win, it would have been Toko. She was relentless and energetic and tied for the lead among all skaters on both teams with six shots. The best scoring chance for Japan came when a dropped stick helped cause a turnover in the US end. Toko picked it up and got off two great shots. Aerin Frankel's first save came back to Toko and Frankel needed to extend her toe to the post to prevent a goal. Toko pursued on the forecheck, got back on defense and never stopped trying to get her team on the board. 


"We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in, but it's not like we didn't have scoring opportunities, so we could have capitalized on those. You know they're not going to let that happen. We need to create those chances more and put the pucks on net." – Japan D Akane Hosoyamada

"Not our best, I would say. We wanted to get first seed in group B – first or second seed. It ended up being up to chance for us – we depended on another team for us to get the third place. For us, it was important to get those top seeds. In the end, we won the game against Denmark, so that's good for us. We're coming back in the top division next year, so we're going to come back stronger." – Hosoyamada

"Obviously to be in Group A, everyone has fast instincts. I think we can learn from that. Learn to get used to the speed more." – Hosoyamada

"Staying out of the box. Playing a disciplined game. Focusing on my strengths and doing that to the best of my ability. Being a grinder. D0ing anything I can for my teammates just to grind teams down." – USA F Abbey Murphy on what she's doing well this tournament

"For me, it was really just switching my mindset from college to the IIHF level hockey. It's going to be an increase in pace and just realizing I have to leave that game in the past and focus on what's ahead of me and try to win a World Championship." – USA F Lacey Eden transitioning from college to Team USA at the end of her season

"Every time that you lose a game, you never want to lose again, so that's the plan." – Eden on losing the NCAA National Championship motivating her at the World Championships

"She gets a lot of attention for her peskiness, but none of that would be a factor if she wasn't such a good hockey player. If she wasn't so fast but powerful and sneaky one on one. Her brain – you see she carves the ice, sometimes she's going to wire it, sometimes she's going to find somebody. You don’t know what she's going to do, even as a member of her team. She's playing on her own principles and I love that confidence. She's going to be a member of this team for a long time and a leader because of that fearless nature and her confidence to go and play her style. We're here for it." – USA coach John Wroblewski, on Murphy

"I liked what I saw there. It was something that I was looking to do since before the tournament started. I like taking a good recipe and then adding a little bit to it." – Wroblewski, on switching lines during the game and pairing Murphy and Tessa Janecke together

(Photo: IIHF)