The women’s competition is the most intensive being played – 5 matches in 5 days, that really is a lot of ball hockey to be played and watched by the amazing fans here in Pardubice, Czech Republic. Canada were playing Slovakia in the afternoon session. The game was expected to be tight and dramatic until the very end, and guess what? It actually was!
Canada started off well and made it hard for Zuzana Tomcikova, guarding the Slovak goal, in the opening minutes. The Slovak women only created a single chance in the first period, but Ihnatova missed the goal in the decisive moment.
The Slovak, cheered on by their families and other travelling fans, started to push a bit harder and the work paid off very soon. While the Canadian were changing their lines Diana Vargova punished Canada on a breakaway and Jana Kapustova set the score to 2-0 in a power play soon after. Canada, surprised by this apparently, could only respond with a goal from Rattray, 2-1.
It was Rattray again who hit the post right at the beginning of the third period and Team Canada suddenly had more possession, more chances and pushed the Slovak to their defensive area. Their pressure was, however, diminished by a Slovak power play after a penalty given for too many women on the rink. Canada could not really turn the heat up again and, despite some chances at the end of the match, lost 2-1.
Jana Kapustova, the Slovak captain, admitted that they had a lot of problems early in the game: “We started off a bit nervous, we were basically passing the ball to the Canadian girls, but then we consolidated ourselves, saw that we can overplay Canada as well and fortunately scored the winning goal in a power play.”
Canada’s head coach Tyrel Spitzer said the the game was different to the 2015 Zug World Championship one. “We have a lot of rookies, this is still a good starting point for us. I saw our team improving in the game, but full credit to Slovakia. We have a young team, we’ll recover quickly and work on a couple of things, mainly execution”, he concluded.