USA Earns Top Seed in Worlds Group A

April 1, 2016

By Hannah Barnes, Athletic Communications Student Intern

IIHF Women's World Championship

MINNEAPOLIS – Four current and former Gophers are competing at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Kamloops, British Columbia, this week. The tournament began on Monday, and will wrap up with the medal games on Monday, April 4.

Junior Lee Stecklein has one assist in three games and alum Megan Bozek ('13) has played in two games for the United States, while Sarah Davis ('14) has played in two games for Canada and Mira Jalosuo ('13) has two assists in three games for her native Finland.

The tournament began with preliminary round games in two groups; Group A and Group B. Group A is comprised of Canada, United States, Finland and Russia, and in Group B is Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and Czech Republic.

Preliminary Round

There were a total of 12 games in the preliminary round as each team played against each team in its group. In Group A, the U.S. went 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) to secure the top seed while Canada (2-0-0-1), Finland (1-0-0-2), and Russia (0-0-0-3) round out the Group A standings. Sweden is the top seed in Group B at 2-1-0-0, followed by the Czech Republic (1-1-0-1), Switzerland (1-0-1-1), and Japan (0-0-1-2).

Group A: Finland 5, Russia 3
Finland defeated Russia in the first preliminary game in Group A. Finland got on the board first and ended the opening period with a 1-0 lead. Russia rallied to tie the game three times, but Finland’s two third-period goals sealed the win.

Group A: United States 3, Canada 1
The United States clinched the first game against rival Canada by a score of 3-1. The game remained scoreless until the third period when Canada netted a power-play goal. The U.S. rallied and tied the game just before the halfway mark of the period and then took the lead with a power-play goal of its own before scoring an empty-netter to seal the win.

Group A: United States 2, Finland 1
The United States continued its winning ways by defeating Finland 2-1 in the teams’ second game of the tournament. For the second-straight game, the U.S. fell behind and was forced to make a comeback. Finland struck first in the opening period when Jalosuo assisted an even-strength goal. Late in the first period, the U.S. tied the game on a goal assisted by Stecklein. The U.S. then took the lead in the second period to secure a 2-1 victory.

Group A: Canada 8, Russia 1
Canada dominated Russia by a score of 8-1 in to earn its first win of the tournament. Russia scored the first goal of the game after killing a Team Canada power play and finished the period with the lead. Forty seconds into the second period, Canada tied the game and rattled off five more goals in the middle frame. Canada finished the game with two more goals in the third period, wrapping up the 8-1 win.

Group A: Canada 6, Finland 1
Canada used another high-scoring second period to skate to a 6-1 win over Finland in the teams' final preliminary round game. Alums Davis and Jalosuo were both in the lineup for their respective countries but did not tally any points. Canada took a 2-0 lead at 8:04 of the second period, but Finland made it a one-goal game just 18 seconds later. However, Canada responded with three more second-period goals and added its second power-play goal of the game in the third to seal the 6-1 win.

Group A: United States 8, Russia 0
The U.S. took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission and added five third-period tallies in an 8-0 route over Russia to wrap up preliminary round play. 

Up Next: Quarterfinal Round
The quarterfinal round pits Russia, fourth in Group A, against Sweden, first in Group B, at 5:30 p.m. CT Friday and Finland against Czech Republic at 9:30 p.m. CT Friday.

The U.S. and Canada both secured quarterfinal-round byes as the top two seeds in Group A. The U.S. will play in its semifinal match-up against the winner of Russia/Sweden at 5 p.m. CT on Sunday, and Canada will face the winner of Finland/Czech Republic at 9:30 p.m. CT Sunday. Switzerland and Japan face off in a best-of-three relegation round as well.

Olympic Berths Secured
The top-5 teams of the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Ranking and host Korea are automatically qualified for the 2018 Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament. By reaching a top-6 position, the following five teams will have enough points to secure a top-5 position in the new World Ranking and thus earn their tickets for PyeongChang 2018: United States, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and Russia (final order to be determined).

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