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Team France earns promotion to 2019 Women’s World Championship

Catching you up on the WWC results from March and April.

France v Austria - Women's Ice Hockey Olympic Qualification Final - Group D Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Last weekend the French national team earned a place in the 2019 Women’s World Championship in Finland with their outstanding play in the 2018 Division I - Group A tournament in Vaujany, France. France will compete with Japan, the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden Germany, Russia, and Switzerland in Finland next year.

Today at the Ice Garden we’re going to catch you up with all of the Women’s World Championship results in the New Year.


Division I – Group A

In Vaujany, France, April 8-14.

Winner: France (promoted to top division)

Directorate’s Best Players

  • Forward: Fanni Gasparics, Hungary | 6 G, 4 A, +1, 30 SOG
  • Defender: Gwendoline Gendarme, France | 1 G, 6 PIM, +2, 9 SOG
  • Goaltender: Ena Nystrøm, Norway | .962 Sv%, 1.34 GAA

Summary

France, the host nation of the tournament, won in large part because of its stellar defense and goaltending. The French roster was bolstered by a duo of forwards from the CWHL’s Les Canadiennes de Montreal: Marion Allemoz and Lore Baudrit. Allemoz registered three assists and Baudrit finished with three goals and an assist in the tournament.

France v Austria - Women's Ice Hockey Olympic Qualification Final - Group D Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Norway, led by the superb play of 17-year-old goaltender Ena Nystrøm, was the only team to defeat France in the round robin tournament. France’s most important victory came on April 11 when they came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Austria and NWHL star Janine Weber.


Division I – Group B

In Asiago, Italy, April 8-14.

Winner: Italy (promoted to Division I - Group A)

Directorate’s Best Players

  • Forward: Jongah Park, Korea | 4 G, 3 A, 2 PIM, +5, 18 SOG
  • Defender: Nadia Mattivi, Italy | 2 G, 1 A, 2 PIM, +3, 22 SOG
  • Goaltender: Giulia Mazzocchi, Italy | .946 Sv%, 1.25 GAA

Summary

Korea lost only to the Chinese national team in the round robin by a score of 2-1. The hosts of the 2018 Olympics finished the tournament with the same number of wins as Italy, but one of their victories came in overtime. As a result, Italy finished higher in the standings and was promoted up the ladder to Division I Group A.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 11
Korea’s Jongah Park was named the best forward of the 2018 Division I - Group B Women’s World Championship.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Italy didn’t allow a single power play goal in the 33:58 where they were shorthanded. The Italians added to that special teams excellence by scoring two shorthanded goals and finishing the round robin with a 16 percent power play. A stalwart team defense and the offensive fireworks of Eleonora Dalprà – who scored three goals and registered six assists in five games - proved to be a winning recipe for Team Italy.

Perhaps the most noteworthy result of this tournament was China’s fifth place finish. The team was a mix of Kunlun Red Star players and Vanke Rays. In last year’s Division I – Group B tournament the Chinese scored 13 goals; six more than the team managed in this year’s tournament.


Divison II – Group A

In Maribor, Slovenia, March 31-April 6.

Winner: The Netherlands (promoted to Division I – Group B)

Directorate’s Best Players

  • Forward: Pia Pren, Slovena | 2 G, 9 A, 2 PIM, +5, 18 SOG
  • Defender: Kayleigh Hamers, Netherlands | 3 G, 4 A, 8 PIM, +7, 17 SOG
  • Goaltender: Pia Dukarič, Slovenia | .932 Sv%, 3.00 GAA

Summary

The Netherlands went undefeated in the round robin and outscored the opposition by a margin of 24-3 in Slovenia. The Dutch came closest to defeat in their game against the host nation Slovenia on April 1. The Slovenians, led by goaltender 17-year-old Pia Dukarič, ceded just two goals to the relentless offense of the Oranje.

Great Britain also had a strong showing, finishing with a record of 4-1-0. Leanne Ganney, who plays her club hockey with SDE HF in the SDHL, scored three goals and added two assists for the British national team. Claudia Tellez and Team Mexico finished last in Division I – Group B with a record of 0-5-0. This was their first tournament in the division after earning a promotion last year.


Division II – Group B

In Valdemoro, Spain, March 17-23.

Winner: Spain (promoted to Division II - Group A)

Directorate’s Best Players

  • Forward: Silvia Björgvinsdóttir, Iceland | 9 goals, 3 assists, 4 PIM, +4, 50 SOG
  • Defender: Elena Alvarez, Spain | 2 goals, 1 assist, +9, 11 SOG
  • Goaltender: Alba Gonzalo, Spain | .954 Sv%, 0.94 GAA

Summary

Spain went 5-0-0 as the host nation of the Division II - Group B’s Women’s World Championship to earn a promotion to Group A. The Spanish national team outscored their opponents by a margin of 29-5 thanks in large part to the finishing touch of Swiss-born Sara Danielsson. Danielsson finished the tournament with six goals in five games; good for second on the team in points behind Vega Muñoz.

The standout performance of the tournament belonged to Iceland’s Silvia Björgvinsdóttir. The 18-year-old scored nine goals and put up 50 shots in five games for Iceland. We can now safely say she is a must-watch prospect not just for Iceland, but for all of women’s hockey.