Slovenes move up

Captain Pia Pren scores nine goals


The Slovenian player sing the national anthem after winning a game in Jaca. Photo: FEDH

JACA, Spain – Slovenia won the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B. The Slovenes recovered from a loss to Mexico and defeated top-seeded Australia on Friday to earn promotion.

Pia Pren, the team captain since last season who plays for the Sabres Vienna, led the way with nine goals and two assists.

Slovenia had a good start. On the first day the team defeated Belgium 13-2 while top-seeded Australia lost to host Spain 4-1 in front of 1,500 fans at the Pabellon de Hielo in Jaca.

On the second day the Slovenes recovered from an early Spanish lead to defeat the tournament hosts 3-1 but then suffered a setback against the surprising Mexicans, who played at that level for the first time after winning the qualification tournament on home ice in Mexico City one year ago.

With their top player Pren missing, the Slovenes lacked in firepower and were outshot by Mexico 26-22. Two goals from Claudia Tellez and one from Melissa Arroyo led Mexico to a 3-0 blanking and first place in the standings after three games.

However, after a one-day break things changed in Slovenia’s favour. First the team came back from a 1-0 first-period deficit to beat Iceland 7-2 and later on Thursday Mexico gave up first place after losing 3-1 to Australia.

The Slovenes sealed tournament win with a 5-1 victory against Australia on Friday, the final day of competition. Despite being outshot 38-21 it was the Slovenes who scored over and over again to gain a 5-0 lead after two periods.

Host Spain and Mexico will battle for second place in the evening game in Friday while Iceland is also in medal contention in its last game against winless Belgium, which will be relegated.

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