Strong Swedes win gold

U16 women defend Youth Olympic title


The Swedish players celebrate after winning the gold medal game against the Czech Republic. Photo: Fredrik Olastuen

LILLEHAMMER – The winner of the Youth Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament in Lillehammer 2016 is the same like in Innsbruck 2012. Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 3-1 in the final to win the gold medals.

It was the Swedes’ fifth consecutive win in the tournament after having started the Youth Olympics with a 2-1 shootout loss to bronze medallist Switzerland.

Game highlights
Ceremony and interviews

“It’s really amazing to take home a gold medal, it’s really big,” said Sofie Lundin, Sweden's star forward who scored two goals in the game. “We played really good hockey and got better and better after each match. It was an unforgettable experience.”

“I can’t describe it, it was amazing, best time of my life,” said goaltender Anna Amholt. “It has been a great tournament, we learned a lot and it was really fun.”

Barbora Machalova had the first scoring chance of the game for the Czechs at 2:41 but was stopped in time on her breakaway.

The first goal was scored on another counter-attack but on the other side. Right after the Czechs’ first shot on goal Lina Ljungblom passed the puck to Sofia Lundin, who outskated Sarka Krejnikova to beat Karolina Juricova with a backhand shot to the far side of the net at 7:45.

Nikola Dyckova had a good scoring chance for the Czechs with 13 seconds left but saw her shot blocked by Anna Amholt. The Swedes cleared the puck but the Czechs got it back in the neutral zone and started another attack with Klara Jandusikova and Laura Lerchova having a two-on-one in the offensive zone against Swedish defenceman Linnea Sjolund. Jandusikova’s shot on the right went wide but bounced back from the boards where Lerchova was ready to score the game-tying goal with 4.2 seconds left in the period.

The Swedes found back into the game and dominated the second period for which the Czechs changed goalies. After a Czech power play and a giveaway from Karolina Hornicka it was Lundin who scored again. She skated into the Czech zone with little resistance and when she came close to the face-off circle she let go a flat shot that didn’t exactly look unstoppable but went in close to the far post for the 2-1 goal at 5:26.

The player from Helsinborg plays with the boys’ U16 team of Jonstorps IF like some years earlier Anaheim Ducks player Hampus Lindholm or former NHL player Fabian Brunnstrom and recently played with the class of 1998 at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship where she contributed three goals and five points to the bronze-medal campaign. Thanks to her two goals today she moved to third place in scoring with seven points (5+2) only behind Switzerland’s Rahel Enzler (10) and Noemi Ryhner (9).

It was these scoring qualities that were missing on the Czech team. They didn’t have forwards who shone individually like Lundin. They made it to the final with a strong team effort and tight, low-scoring wins but against a strong and skilled Swedish team that wasn’t enough. The Czechs had already lost to Sweden 2-0 in the preliminary round.

“We are very proud and happy about the silver medal. For us the silver medal means even more than the gold medal,” said Czech captain Magdalena Erbenova. “It’s just great for us. It can move women’s hockey move forward and I think it’s the best thing we’ve done this year.”

Agnes Wilhelmsson doubled the lead to 3-1 at 11:23 of the second period when she circled in front of the Czech defence before scoring with a high shot from central position.

The Swedes also dominated the third period. They didn’t capitalize on their chances but had the game under control to win it 3-1 and claim gold.

“I’m very proud,” said head coach Ylva Lindberg. “We grew stronger every day in this tournament, and today I think we are the strongest team.”

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