The 2023 U-18 ladies’s World Championship is about to drop the puck from Jan. 8 to fifteen in Ostersund, Sweden, that includes the world’s subsequent wave of expertise.
Canada edged the US final 12 months within the gold medal recreation, however the hole between the pair of powerhouse nations in ladies’s hockey gave the impression to be narrowing, with Finland, Sweden, and Czechia exhibiting power within the match.
Canada and the USA are once more anticipated to battle for gold, with every nation returning seven gamers from the 2022 match. Their challengers convey a mix of youthful stars and veterans with World Championship and Olympic expertise to the desk. Becoming a member of the highest group at this 12 months’s match is Japan which was promoted from the Division 1-A grouping.
Here’s a take a look at who to observe from every nation competing on the 2023 U-18 ladies’s World Championship.
Canada will look to repeat as champions.
The spine of this staff can be their two returning blueliners Ava Murphy, who scored some extent per recreation final 12 months to guide Canada in scoring, and Piper Grober, who watched her function enhance game-by-game in 2022.
Up entrance, returning forwards Jordan Baxter, Alex Regulation, Alexia Aubin, Emmalee Pais, and Jocelyn Amos will all be counted upon. Aubin had 5 factors in 5 video games in 2022, and Baxter emerged as one of many match’s greatest shooters.
The group can be joined by a number of high-scoring newcomers, together with Caitlin Kraemer, one of many prime scorers within the OWHL U-22 Elite taking part in with the KW Rangers. Morgan Jackson leads the CSSHL in scoring, totaling 33 factors in 14 video games with Shawinigan Lake College. The OWHL is closely represented on this 12 months’s Group Canada, that includes 14 gamers from the league, together with 5 gamers – Pais, Amos, Abby Stonehouse, Shelby Laidlaw, and Keira Hurry – from the London Devilettes.
Just like Canada, seven gamers return to the silver medal-winning Group USA. Maybe the largest participant, bodily and considerably, is goaltender Annelies Bergmann who was stellar final 12 months for USA.
Up entrance, Finley McCarthy performed an important function for USA in 2022 in producing secondary scoring and checking prime traces. Additionally returning for the USA are Cassie Corridor, Molly Jordan, Ava Lindsey, Maggie Scannell and Josie St. Martin. Corridor and Scannell will each get alternatives to play extra outstanding roles offensively for the People this time round. Group USA will try to capitalize off pre-existing chemistry as 5 gamers on the roster play along with Minnetonka Excessive College, and 7 play for Selects Academy.
Different acquainted final names embrace Pleasure Dunne, youthful sister of senior nationwide staff stalwart Jincy Dunne, and Rose Dwyer, whose sister Grace was a standout final 12 months for USA’s U-18 staff. Regardless of being a first-time member of the USA’s U-18 staff, Dunne was voted staff captain.
Sanni Vanhanen, Pauliina Salonen and Tilli Keranen, Finland’s prime three scorers from final 12 months’s U-18 match, are all again. Vanhanen stays one among Finland’s prime gamers at any degree, bringing a number of senior nationwide tournaments of expertise, together with the Olympics and World Championships in 2022, to the desk.
With HIFK in Finland’s Naisten Liiga, Vanhanen is presently scoring at greater than two factors per recreation, whereas Salonen can also be scoring greater than some extent per recreation in Naisten Liiga with TPS. Keranen is coming off a robust efficiency in a latest three-team worldwide U-18 warm-up competitors, main the match in scoring forward of one other returning ahead, who the Finns hope to see a big enhance from, Julia Schalin.
Returnee Sinna Varjonen will quarterback the blueline for Finland. The actual query mark for Finland is who will substitute Emilia Krykko in web. Krykko was final 12 months’s prime goaltender within the match, serving to Finland win bronze. The highest candidates are Venla Varis, who’s presently backing up Krykko in Naisten Liiga with Group Kuortane, and TPS Turku netminder Suvi Saarinen.
Mira Markstrom and Mira Jungaker are the cornerstones of Group Sweden. Jungaker, a blueliner, had 5 factors in six video games for Sweden’s senior nationwide staff on the 2022 World Championship match and was an assistant captain for Tre Kronor finally 12 months’s U-18 match. She has the power to move the puck from her personal zone and frequently prompts as a scoring menace.
The identical could possibly be mentioned for fellow returning defender Jenna Raunio who tied Jungaker for third in staff scoring final 12 months. Up entrance, Markstrom flashed her palms and offensive creativity finally 12 months’s match, frequently serving as Sweden’s top-scoring menace. Her puck expertise are elite, leading to her topping Swedish forwards in scoring in 2022.
Becoming a member of Markstrom up entrance are returnees Ebba Hedqvist and Stella Lindell, who have to elevate their video games to take strain away from Markstrom. If her latest efficiency at a 4 Nations match is any indication, newcomer Hilda Svensson might present an offensive enhance. Svensson scored eight factors in three video games to guide the match in scoring and is presently tied for essentially the most factors by a U-18 ahead within the SDHL.
After narrowly lacking promotion to Group A, Czechia can be a favourite, alongside Switzerland, to emerge to the quarterfinals.
Main the best way for Czechia is dynamic ahead Adela Sapovalivova. Sapovalivova represented Czechia’s senior nationwide staff, serving to her nation to a historic bronze on the 2022 World Championship, competing as a 16-year-old and scoring three objectives in seven video games. She’ll line up alongside Tereza Plosova, who topped the 2022 U-18 match in scoring with 10 factors, and Tereza Pistekova, Czechia’s prime goal-scorer final 12 months.
Maybe a very powerful returnee who can steal video games for Czechia is netminder Michaela Hesova. Ending the 2022 match with a 1.05 GAA and .944 save share, Hesova performs at Selects Academy alongside among the greatest on the earth, together with seven members of Group USA.
On the blueline, Klaudie Slavickova is the highest scoring U-18 participant in Czechia’s ladies’s league, and fellow returning defender Eliska Hotova may also be relied upon closely.
The power of the Swiss staff this season can be on the blueline.
Alessia Baechler completed second in scoring on the staff finally 12 months’s U-18 match earlier than representing Switzerland’s senior nationwide staff on the World Championship. She can be Switzerland’s chief each on and off the ice, and can be joined on the blueline by Alena Lynn Rossel, one other returnee with offensive upside. Elena Gaberell may also be a key determine on the Swiss again finish.
With out Alina Marti up entrance, the Swiss might want to discover scoring from others. Switzerland will rely on returning gamers Chiara Eggli and Naemi Herzig, who each play within the Swiss league with ZSC Lions Frauen, to choose up the scoring slack. Eggli and Herzig are the highest two U-18 scorers in Switzerland’s ladies’s league.
Switzerland’s starter Margaux Favre is again in web after a strong efficiency finally 12 months’s U-18 match.
Whereas Slovakia’s prime scorers from final 12 months’s match are gone, a wave of youth will compete in 2023.
Slovakia’s prime returning forwards can be 16-year-old Tatiana Blichova, who is completely scorching Slovakia’s ladies’s league with ZHK Sarisanka Presov, and 15-year-old Ema Tothova, who scored a pair of objectives final 12 months for Slovakia.
One other youthful newcomer, 14-year-old Nela Lopusanova, was Slovakia’s main scorer in a 4 Nations warmup match and is presently scoring greater than 4 factors per recreation in Slovakia’s prime ladies’s league.
From final 12 months’s U-18 entry, Slovakia is returning each netminders and a full blueline, together with Alexandra Mateickova and Liana Tomastikova.
Japan earned a promotion from the Division 1-A match to the principle bracket of the U-18 World Championship this 12 months, following within the footsteps of the senior nationwide staff, who shocked many in 2022.
Nonetheless, Japan will face stiff competitors as they’re going to be with out ahead Makoto Ito and goaltender Riko Kawaguchi, who each represented Japan on the World Championships and have aged out after main their nation to promotion. So has College of Vermont commit Hina Shimomukai, who led Japan in scoring on the Division 1-A match.
Eleven members of their qualifying staff are eligible for this match, with defender Kohane Sato, who additionally performed for Japan on the World Championship, again as their prime participant. Up entrance, Nagomi Murakami can be requested to take a central function in Japan’s assault.