IIHF Women's Worlds Day 2 Recap: Hockey Is Fun!
Day 2 of the 2023 IIHF Women's World Championships saw four teams hit the ice for the first time in Brampton, Ont. Germany, Hungary, Czechia, and Sweden all played their first games of the tournament, while Japan and France sought their first wins.
We'll get to the scores below, but the word of Day 2 in Brampton was fun! And how could it not be? Between Team Czechia hitting the ice, the PHF All-Star Showcase darling Fanni Garat-Gasparics, and the Hungarian National Team seeking action, it was bound to be a good time, including a mini Rocks-Paper-Scissors tournament.
Although Japan and France couldn't secure a win, there was still plenty to be proud of. Let's go game-by-game for the highlights and hot performances of Day 2.
Germany 6, Sweden 2
The 16-year-old Swedish forward Hilda Svensson opened the scoring 10 seconds into her first shift of her first World Championships. It was a promising start for the two-time IIHF bronze medalists. However, a trio of penalties in the first period eventually led to an equalizer for Germany in the waning seconds of the opening frame.
In the second stanza, Laura Klug and Celina Haider scored less than a minute apart to give Germany their first lead. Svensson scored the second and final goal for Sweden in the second. Germany tacked on two more goals in the third to secure their first victory of the tournament.
"[This win is] really important because Sweden is a good team and we have Finland tomorrow, Haider told IIHF reporter Liz Montroy. "We want to come to the quarterfinals. It was a good start, and we always need those points. We have to take the energy into the next game."
Japan 1, Czechia 2 (OT)
The afternoon game was a goalie battle between Miyuu Masuhara and Blanka Skodova. Masuhara was beaten in the first by defender Daniela Pejšová to give Czechia an early lead. Japanese goaltender Masuhara pushed aside 26 shots to give her team a chance at an equalizer. It came early in the third period after great forechecking led to an opportunity in front of the net for Rui Ukita.
The game required extra hockey to declare a winner, and veteran Kateřina Mrázová delivered for the 2022 IIHF bronze medalists.
Despite the losses in their opening games, Japan is a fun team to watch. They are a young team with improved skating, strength, and scoring from the days when it was solely heroics by Nana Fujimoto in net. But they're getting good goaltending too.
The players have a lot of confidence because we finished in the top five last year. And we have a bit more experience. We lost to the U.S. last night, 7-1, but it was also more experience," Japan head coach Yuji Iizuka told IIHF.com. "We'll take it one game at a time, but our goal is to finish in the top four and play for a medal."
France 2, Hungary 4
Fans were treated to a back-and-forth game to close out Day Two. A pair of new kids to Division I battled it out for the win while having fun along the way. Hungary scored twice in the opening frame to take their first lead of the tournament. The first goal came after Alexandra Huszak bobbled her handle on a breakaway but recovered to toss an odd-angle goal toward French goaltender Caroline Lambert. Regina Metzler scored the second goal of the tournament for the Hungarians.
Goals were hard to come by for most of the second period until Reka Debasi found Huszak for her second of the content. The first goal for the French team came early in the third period. Estelle Duville circled just above the left side hash marks before firing a hard shot that beat Aniko Nemeth stick side.
The French would get their second goal moments later when Athena Locatelli sent a screaming one-timer to the top corner. The game remained close until Metropolitan Riveters forward Reka Debasi collected Hungary's fourth and final goal. The party for Hungarian fans and players got going at the final horn.
"The Hungarian fans are some of the most fantastic fans in the world," Huszak said postgame. "[When] we were going on the ice we were hearing how they cheer for us and seriously, I want to say thank you to them because it means a lot to us."
Day Three Schedule
The third day of action will see the United States take on Switzerland for the day's first game, followed by Finland vs. Germany as the matinee, and Czechia vs. Canada for the third and final Friday game.