Report by Paul Harrison / Highlights video to come
The New Zealand Ice Fernz delivered host nation Romania a lesson on the ice this morning, with an emphatic 7-1 win, guaranteeing themselves a podium finish in the IIHF Division 2B Women’s World Championship.
The first frame began with the Ice Fernz dominating both possession and territory. The Kiwis drew first blood at the seven-minute mark, when a shot from Jasmine Horner-Pascoe was partially saved by the Romanian goalie. The rebound was unsecured and the puck found its way to the stick of Hannah Shields, who needed no invitation to bury it deep in the net.
The Horner-Pascoe and Shields combination featured again nine minutes later, when Helen Murray and Shields orchestrated the near-perfect delivery and it fell to Horner-Pascoe to simply tip the puck in the net and nudge the score along to 2-0.
The Ice Fernz dominance in the first period was exemplified by the 13-3 shots on goal, and any breeches of defence were settled by some tidy saves by Lochlyn Hyde in-goal.
The Ice Fernz continued their momentum into the second period with some impressive ice time in the Romanian end. A number of shots went harrowingly close to the inside of the pipes.
Romania went onto the penalty kill five minutes into the second and it took the Ice Fernz a further minute to add to their tally, with Jasmine Horner-Pascoe slotting her second of the game, assisted by Hannah Shields and Jaime Jones.
The pace continued with Horner-Pascoe featuring again. A powerful slap shot seemingly found the goalies catcher, but the momentum was enough to force the
puck across the line, awarding the Ice Fernz’s leading goal scorer a natural hat-trick. By the end of the game, the red-hot forward would rack up six points.
Against the run of play, Romanian scored at the start of the third period, when a centring puck ricocheted off a Kiwi defender’s skate and into the goal.
However, equilibrium was quickly restored when Horner-Pascoe skated the puck up the ice, drew a couple of defenders, then drop-passed the puck to a Hannah Shields in waiting, who slotted it home for the Ice Fernz’s fifth goal.
Goal number six evolved from an end-to-end skate by Horner-Pascoe, who circled the net and found Ice Fernz captain Helen Murray nicely positioned and stick-ready, 6-1 New Zealand.
The Ice Fernz’s final goal came with 40 seconds remaining on the clock. Receiving a pass from Abby Heale, Krystie Woodyear-Smith fired a slap shot from the blueline, but Romania’s exhausted goalie Nadina Niciu was unable to secure the puck, and it dribbled across the line.
This was a dominant performance by the Ice Fernz. The Kiwis outshot Romania 50-23 and never looked troubled.
The Ice Fernz defence was notable for the absence of any clear breakaways by the Romanians. The New Zealand MVP award went to Hannah Shields for her outstanding performance and tally of 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists).
“This was our best game yet. The girls played 60 minutes of structured hockey and never let up,” said Ice Fernz head coach Rachel Park.
Based on today’s results, should Iceland beat Chinese Taipei on Sunday, and the top three teams remain tied on points, the gold medal winner will be decided by the goal differential between the tied teams, which favours Chinese Taipei.
The Ice Fernz play their final game against Croatia at 10pm NZ time on Sunday.