Canada aim for third straight world title
BETTING À DAY
The Women's World Hockey Championship gets underway Wednesday in Brampton, Ont., and Team Canada will be looking for a third consecutive gold medal.
We obviously expect Canada to win at home, but it is also to be hoped that nations other than the United States and Canada will begin to win.
Because it is of the 22nd World Women's Hockey Championship and the two nations shared all the gold medals. Canada has won 12 and the United States has won 9.
Canadians and Americans are the only women to have won a medal, regardless of color, at each of the first 21 Championships .
However, we must watch Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, which continue to progress. The Czechs also won the very first bronze medal in their history last year.
The Canadian offense
Canada obviously figure of favorite with its powerful attack. How powerful? To the point of smashing the record for the number of goals at the Beijing Olympic tournament in 2022 with 57 goals. The best scorers will be there in Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Fillier, Blayre Turnbull and Ella Shelton.
But this is a team that is looking for balance and wants to tweak its work ethic in order to achieve it. With 18 players from the 2022 edition returning, there is great consistency.
Canada find themselves in Group A with Switzerland, Japan, Czechia and the United States. The maple leaf players shouldn't have too much trouble qualifying for the medal round.
Funny little detail, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the 2021 Championship to the end of the summer and the International Ice Hockey Federation decided to hold a Championship in an Olympic year, in 2022, the Canadians will be aiming for a fourth gold medal in less than twenty months at a major competition.
Amanda Kessel will be at the heart of the American attack.
The United States in Transition
Great rivals of Canada, the Americans will once again be at the heart of the debate even if we have taken some surprising decisions, such as that of leaving aside five members of the 2022 team to make way for the next generation.
< p>This shift may explain Canada's stranglehold on gold over the past two years. After all, the United States won eight of the nine Championships presented between 2008 and 2019.
But the heart of the team is still there with the return of Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Abby Roque, Alex Carpenter, Lee Stecklein and Megan Keller.
Klara Peslarova will be important in the Czech successes.
The Czechs won a historic bronze medal in 2022 and will want to build on that success. However, they will have to manage without one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Klara Peslarova.
Many veterans are back, but we will especially watch the young sensation of 16 years, Tereza Plosova, who destroyed the Under-18 World Championship with 16 points in 10 total games in the last two editions.
Alessia Baechler is an 18-year-old nugget for the Swiss team.
Switzerland does not rely on a dazzling attack and will have to rely on the whole team to make the Red light. We will turn our gaze to the young defender Alessia Baechler, a nugget who drives the under-18 team.
It is also in defense that the Swiss will stand out with an effective and relatively hermetic game. We add goalkeeper Andrea Brandli who was very effective with Boston University in the NCAA.
Haruka Toko is the heart of the Japanese attack.
Japanese players are starting to go beyond their borders and work in Europe and we should start to see the results even if this team remains behind the biggest nations .
Forward Haruka Toko is at the heart of this team, having had a very good first season in the Swedish Women's League (SDHL) with 27 points in 29 games. His sister, Ayaka, also plays in Sweden and will be the engine of the defense.
Absent, Elisa Holopainen will be missed by Finland.
Not so long ago, the Finns always had a medal to lose at the World Championships rather than a medal to win. In other words, the team showed up knowing they were a medal contender. This is less the case now.
Several seasoned players are absent, such as Elisa Holopainen and Susanna Tapani. On the other hand, there is a solid defense that keeps an eye on the grain as well as an interesting relief in attack. It will be an interesting team to follow.
Hanna Olsson will carry the attack for Sweden.
There is a wind of youth blowing on the Swedish team in which there are two 16-year-old players and another 17-year-old. For the Three Crowns, it's more a matter of giving this young team experience for years to come.
In attack, the burden of producing should fall on Hanna Olsson who is the best team scorer for a while. We will have to watch the defensive game in front of goalkeeper Emma Soderberg who was a finalist for the title of best goalkeeper of the year in the NCAA.
Aniko Nemeth, goalkeeper of the Hungarian team.
We discovered Fanni Garat-Gasparics in the Metropolitan Riveters, a team of the Premier Hockey Federation, the circuit in which the Force of Montreal evolves. The Hungarian surprised everyone a bit with her spectacular game and she will be the jewel of her team.
They are a young and growing team that must rely on the solid play of goalkeeper Aniko Nemeth to hope to obtain results. Nemeth was instrumental in promoting his team from Division 1B to Division 1A. It is therefore thanks to her that Hungary is in Brampton this spring.
Lore Baudrit impresses with her imposing stature.
France will need all its little change to avoid being recalibrated in division 1B next year. There is indeed veteran Lore Baudrit, an exceptional player with her 6'3'', but after that it is already thin despite the presence of Chloé Aurard who finished eighth among the best scorers in the NCAA with 54 points in 38 games for Northeastern.
There is some good offensively, but it looks pretty thin defensively aside from goaltender Caroline Lambert who could allow her team to cause upsets.
This is a team that brings together several players playing in the American university ranks, which arouses curiosity. Among them are defenseman Nina Jobst-Smith who had 25 points in 39 games with Minnesota-Duluth and goaltender Sandra Abstreiter of Providence College who was a finalist for NCAA Goaltender of the Year for a second. consecutive year.
There are also sisters Luisa and Lilli Welcke who play for the University of Maine. But will this beautiful youth be able to compensate for the absence of Tanja Eisenschmid? Even if she is a defender, she was her team's best scorer at the 2022 World Championship. Moreover, the attack will represent the Achilles heel of the Germans.