After an exciting final round of Olympic women’s hockey qualifications, we officially have our field of 10 teams who will compete for gold in Beijing! The Czech Republic, Denmark, and Sweden each won their group in qualifiers to earn the final three spots in the field.
Unlike the qualifying tournaments, which were played round-robin style with the winner of each group advancing, the Olympics will feature the same format as the Women’s World Championship with two tiered groups of five. As the last three teams in, the Danes, Swedes, and Czechs will all play in Group B.
Here’s how it all went down in the final round of qualifiers.
Hungary 11, Poland 1
Czech Republic 3, Norway 1
Czech Republic 16, Poland 0
Hungary 5, Norway 3
Czech Republic 5, Hungary 1
Norway 7, Poland 1
Although Norway and Hungary both turned in good performances this week, Group C was never really in doubt. The Czechs were one of the most talented teams competing in qualification play and that showed all tournament, with their 24-goal performance over three games. Norwegian goaltender Ena Nystrøm made things very interesting with 40 saves in the first game, but the Czech Republic skated to victory against Norway and Poland. The Czechs won handily in the deciding game against Hungary. Klára Hymlárová and Aneta Tejralová both had two-point games.
This will be the Czech Republic’s first-ever appearance in the Olympics. Per the IIHF’s game recap, the team plans on centralizing on Jan. 5 to prepare.
- Czech Republic
An incredible performance!— Olympics (@Olympics) November 14, 2021
Czech Republic are heading to #Beijing2022 after a 5-1 win against Hungary in the final women's ice hockey qualifier. @IIHFHockey | @olympijskytym | @narodnitymzen pic.twitter.com/LDl5uyvpTw
Austria 3, Germany 0
Denmark 4, Italy 0
Germany 4, Italy 1
Denmark 1, Austria 0
Germany 3, Denmark 2 (SO)
Austria 6, Italy 1
There was drama from start to finish in Group D. Right off the bat, Austria’s shutout victory over the group hosts put Germany on notice—the Germans were the likely favorite to come out of the group, after advancing to the quarterfinals at the top level of the most recent Women’s Worlds. But after the Danes beat Italy and pulled off a narrow win over Austria, Germany needed to win outright in the final game to advance. Instead, Denmark erased a 2-0 deficit thanks to goals from Malene Frandsen and Silke Glud, and after forcing the shootout, that was all the Danes needed to punch their ticket.
It was a historic victory for Denmark, who will play in the Olympics for the first time ever.
France 4, Korea 0
Sweden 3, Slovakia 0
France 3, Slovakia 1
Sweden 15, Korea 0
Slovakia 7, Korea 1
Sweden 3, France 2
Group E came down to the final game between Sweden and France, who each had six points heading into Sunday. Goals from Michelle Löwenhielm and Sara Hjalmarsson gave Sweden a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Less than four minutes later, Clara Rozier got one back for the French, but Sweden regained a two-goal lead within the first two minutes of the third period. Léa Villiot pulled France within one with less than five minutes to go, but the Swedes held on to earn the victory and the final spot in the Olympics. Caroline Baldin was excellent in net for France to keep her team in it, totaling 37 saves.
Sweden is no stranger to the Olympics and finished as high as silver back in 2006, but getting back there was no guarantee after their demotion from the top division of the Women’s World Championship back in 2019.
Here’s the full makeup of the 2022 Olympic women’s ice hockey field:
Group A: Canada, United States, Finland, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Switzerland
Group B: Japan, China (host), Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden
Play gets started on Feb. 3, 2022, and runs through Feb. 17. Full schedule is here.