Czechia wanted to make sure that everyone at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championships knew that last year’s bronze medal performance was no fluke. They earned it, and they wanted to do it again this year.
The Czechs outlasted the Swiss in a tight 3-2 battle to claim their second consecutive bronze medal at Worlds, the first time that the team has pulled off the feat.
Switzerland struck first on their first power play opportunity of the evening. It was a welcome relief for the Swiss, who spent most of the opening 10 minutes killing off penalties; three different players sat in the box for Switzerland, but Czechia couldn’t solve netminder Andrea Brändli. With Kateřina Mrázová in the box for cross-checking, a trailing Lara Stalder picked up a loose puck in the high slot and got it to her backhand, beating Blanka Škodová to make it 1-0 Switzerland.
31 seconds later, Denisa Křižová answered back for Czechia, tying the game at 1-1. Teresa Vanišová carried the puck towards the net and sent a short pass to a waiting Křižová, who managed to send the puck past Brändli.
Not content with just tying the game, Czechia scored again less than three minutes later. Switzerland made the mistake of leaving Michaela Pejzlová wide open near the right face off dot, and Vanišová sent her a perfect pass that she blasted past Brändli to make it 2-1 with just under five and a half minutes left.
Czechia ended the period on another power play, but Switzerland shut them down and entered the first intermission just one goal behind despite getting just three shots on net in the opening frame.
Lena Marie Lutz tied the game up again near the midway point of the second period. Škodová played the puck behind the net, but got in the way of her own teammate, allowing Lutz to get to the puck first and throw in a quick wraparound to tie the game at two all.
It stayed that way for about 10 minutes, but with the clock winding down in the second frame, Czechia took the lead once again. Aneta Tejralová pulled off an incredible move along the boards, moving the puck between a defender’s skates and dishing it over to Křižová, who scored her second goal of the game to make it 3-2 Czechia with 2:44 left in the period.
Switzerland had a stellar opportunity to tie the game in the middle of the third, getting an extended 5-on-3 power play chance for over a minute and a half. Czechia’s penalty kill was up to the task and shut down the two skater advantage. Despite another late power play and pulling their goaltender, Switzerland wasn’t able to get an equalizer and Czechia skated away with the win.