Written by: Michael Mitchell
As expected, the Bronze Medal game was a classic, decided mid-way through the final period.
These were familiar foes in the battle for the #3 ranking in women’s under-19 world floorball. Two years ago in Poland, the Czech Republic defeated Switzerland 5-2 in the third place game. The teams last met in February, with the Swiss women prevailing, 5-4.
Fast-forward to Canada and the U19 WFC in 2016, and here they were again, same situation.
Switzerland’s Milena Mahler and the Czech Republic’s Eva Pistekova traded goals in the first five minutes. The rest of the period had some close calls but no clear scoring chances. A Czech Republic penalty late in the period gave the Swiss an opportunity to reclaim the lead, but they couldn’t capitalize. The game was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Switzerland broke through in the second period when Lea Hofmann connected at 6:25, 2-1. Mid-way through the period, the Swiss had a power play; Andrea Wildermuth’s sizzling wrist shot banged off the crossbar. The rest of the period, again, tightly-contested with strong neutral-zone containment and a shortage of clear shooting lanes. The score remained at 2-1, Switzerland.
In the third period, with four minutes completed, a classic rush by Czech Republic forward Veronika Kacova opened the middle of the floor, and she deftly delivered a pass left to teammate Tereza Hanzlikova who converted beautifully for the tying goal, 2-2.
The Czechs were charged with a penalty in the 11th minute, and the Swiss wasted no time reclaiming the lead, 3-2. Nicole Mattle received a perfect cross-slot pass from Wildermuth and slammed it past Czech goalie Veronika Tomsova just six seconds into the power play. With four minutes remaining, Switzerland had a chance to extend the lead with another power play, but the Czechs held firm. With a minute remaining, the Czechs pulled the goalie for the extra attacker; one last point shot was blocked by Swiss defenders.
Switzerland (3rd) and the Czech Republic (4th) switch places at the close of the 2016 event following a classic, hard-fought match.
Players of the Game:
Switzerland – Milena Mahler
Czech Republic – Veronika Tomsova