International Ice Hockey Federation

Overtime magic in Prerov

Overtime magic in Prerov

Erbenova's OT PP goal puts Czechs in quarters

Published 10.01.2017 20:42 GMT+1 | Author Derek O'Brien
Overtime magic in Prerov
PREROV, CZECH REPUBLIC - JANUARY 10: The Czech Republic's Veronika Bucifalova #22 lets a shot go towards Finland's Sanni Ahola #31 while Julia Liikala #28, Heli Allinen #6 and Noemi Neubauerova #25 look on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images)
A shot from the point by Magdalena Erbenova on a 5-on-3 power play in overtime found the back of the net, and sent the host Czechs into the quarter-finals.

“I guess I'm lucky, maybe I know how to score, I don't know,” an elated Erbenova said after scoring her second game-winning goal of the tournament. “I changed my stick – it was cracked in two places and broke, so I exchanged it and told myself that I'd score. So I did it.”

Erbenova also had an assist in the game, and her three goals and four points are both tied for the tournament lead among not only defenders, but all players, with the USA's Cayla Barnes.

The Czechs entered the game knowing that two points would see them through, whereas the Finns already knew they were in the next round. For two periods, that's how it looked, a the Czechs out-shot Finland 24-13, but led only 1-0.

When asked if the fact that the game was more important to the Czechs than the Finns was a factor in the game, Finnish defender Heli Allinen answered, “Maybe a bit, but not as much as I was expecting.

“Emotion or motivation wasn't the problem. We just didn't play our game,” continued Allinen, who was chosen her team's best player and assisted on the go-ahead goal. “We need to pass better, skate more, and be more patient.”

In the third period the Finns pushed back and scored twice, putting the Czechs in trouble. A loss would mean nervously watching the group's last game, and being big fans of Japan. A goal by Kristyna Kaltounkova with 2:34 left tied it, setting up Erbenova's overtime heroics.

The first period was played rather defensively, although there were some funny bounces at each end which saw the puck bounce dangerously close to the net. Each team had a couple of power plays, but the best scoring chance of the period came shorthanded, when Natalie Mlynkova won a race for a loose puck in the neutral zone, made a nice move to beat a Finnish defender, but then couldn't fool Finnish goalie Sanni Ahola, who denied her with the left pad.

The game became chippy in the second period and referee Yana Zueva was busy, doling out 12 minor penalties. The first two of them went to Finland, giving the Czechs a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:09. It took just 23 seconds to capitalize, with Mlynkova deflecting Klara Hymlarkova's shot from the point.

“The Czechs are a good team. They've got speed and they get lots of shots, and they've got a dangerous power play, as we saw,” said Allinen. “But the biggest problem was ourselves. We could have beaten them if we had played three good periods instead of one.”

Things calmed down in the third as both teams focused on the task at hand. And what a third period it turned into.

After two lacklustre periods, the Finns woke up. They fired 13 shots on Kristyna Blahova – half of their total for the game. They tied it with under 14 minutes to play when the Czechs were unable to clear the zone and captain Petra Nieminen fed Kiia Nousianen, who fired a shot from just below the top of the circle over Blahova's blocker.

Four minutes later they tied it on the power play, and it was a great individual effort from Jenniina Nylund, who carried the puck over the blueline, cut into the middle, and fired a shot over Blahova's glove.
“We knew the Finns would be the toughest opponent of the group, and we were waiting for them,” Eerbenova explained. “They're a great skating team and they can capitalize when they get chances, but we believed that we could beat them with our team play, and we did.”

With their situation now desperate, the Czechs started pressing. Ahola made a couple of nice saves, but she couldn't stop Kaltounkova, who carried the puck down the left wing boards, then drove to the net from a sharp angle and somehow managed to find some room through the Finnish goalie to tie the game, setting off a big celebration on the ice and in the stands.

“After the 2-2 goal I was jumping for joy, and maybe burst into tears of joy,” said Erbenova, who earned an assist. “I'm really happy that we scored that goal and went into overtime.”

The teams started overtime 3-on-3 as usual, but each had a player in the penalty box. With 35 seconds to play, Iina Tohila was called for tripping, putting the Czechs a player up. Another 10 seconds later, they went two up when Noemi Neuenbauerova returned to the ice, setting the stage for the team's second 5-on-3 goal of the game.

The win means that both teams are in the quarter-finals, but with the Czechs staying in Prerov, the Finns are headed to Zlin. One will play Russia, the other Sweden, still to be determined.

“It doesn't matter who we play,” Allinen dutifully answered.

 

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