Team Germany is back in the IIHF World Championship after falling out of the country pool in 2016. Their performance in 2015 was heartbreaking for them, as they lost their best-of-three relegation series against Japan with two overtime losses. Now, Germany looks to bounce back with at least one win during the tournament.
Germany to face Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland
The IIHF World Championship is composed of two groups of four, with Group A getting an easier berth to the playoff rounds. Team Germany will be part of Group B, vying for two of the quarterfinal spots delegated to their group. To do this, Germany will have to finish in the top half of their group, which includes Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.
Their first test in group play will come against Sweden, which landed atop Group B in the 2016 Women’s Worlds. Head Coach Benjamin Hinterstocker said, “The upcoming top division Women’s World Championship will be a great challenge. We will prepare intensively during the upcoming days of camp in Ann Arbor for our first opponent, Sweden.” This matchup will occur Friday afternoon.
The Germans will face the Czech Republic the next day, and Switzerland on Monday. For the Germans, their best bet for making it to the quarterfinals may come down to beating the Czech Republic, even if it is in OT. Sweden dominated Group B last year with 8 points (2W, 1 OTW), but the Czech Republic showed some weakness against Japan, winning in a shootout. If Germany can steal a few points from the Czech Republic, they may be able to secure the second spot.
Lanzl and leadership to return
Coach Hinterstocker will return as coach for Germany in this tournament. He will have the same leadership team on the ice as well, with the 2016 captains remaining on the roster. Captain Julia Zorn will lead alongside alternates Daria Gleissner and Andrea Lanzl. Lanzl has represented Germany since 2005, playing in a total of 50 World Championship, Olympic Qualifier, and Olympic games.
Most of the NCAA college players are returning as well. The roster still features forward Marie Delarbre and defensemen Lena Düsterhöft and Anne-Marie Fiegert. Tanja Eisenschmid, who graduated from University of North Dakota, is now with the Minnesota Whitecaps and will provide her Olympic experience as well.
Some make their Women’s World Championship debut
To complement the veteran presence on the team, Germany will also have a few rookies on the team. Sixteen-year-old defenseman Tabea Botthof will make her debut on this top international stage. She will join her teammates Sophie Kratzer (F) and Ronja Jenike (D) in their first ever World Championship.
The three of them currently play for German club ESC Planegg, who are champions for the 2016-17 season of the DHL (German Women’s Ice Hockey League). Perhaps they can bring their winning ways to the international stage as well.