The women’s competition has just set off at the 2017 World Championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic. It is an incredible opportunity to promote the sport, sometimes stereotypically labelled as masculine, as an option for girls and women. Team Italy were facing Team USA, two well-organised teams presented a promise of a great clash!
And wow, what a start to the Women’s pool! Whoever decided to visit the Small Arena in Pardubice instead of the A Pool game between Portugal and Switzerland played simultaneously had zero regrets. There was pace, passion, emotion, tic-tac-toes, power plays, great saves and much more. Only one thing was missing – a goal – but it was clear it’s about to come as the game goes on.
The American started to dominate the match in the second period and Nicole Paniccia, the Italian goalie, had to perform two fine saves against Paige Harrington and Cherie Stewart of the USA. On the other side, Team Italy missed a shot and a rebound from a close distance on a 2 on 1 breakaway. Credit to Alessandra Glista in the USA goal for not letting the ball go into the net!
The Italian women came into the last period tough and motivated – the coach’s speech in the break between the periods and the support by the Italian men team watching from the stands gave them enough energy to kill a penalty and take the lead right after – Louisa Formille of Italy surprised Alessandra Glista in the American goal. The American women tied the game with only 80 seconds left on the clock – Cherie Stewart was the lucky scorer who sent the game into a shootout.
Erica Simpson of the United States scored the winning penalty shot as she found a space between Paniccia’s pads. The Italian coach, Rick DiBiase, was a bit disappointed that Italy did not take all 3 points: “We fell a little short, but you know, I’m happy because my girls played a great game and I’m looking forward for better things. Unfortunately, in the shootout it’s anyone’s game and we fell a bit short.”
Alessandra Glista, the USA keeper, gave her thoughts on the game and the WC as well: “Coming here and dealing with the jetlag is not easy and we felt that in the first period a bit. I could see the change in the team in the second period and further on. Their goal didn’t really matter, it’s how the game is and you’ve got to move forward. Our ambition is to win every game in here, we love it here in Pardubice!”