Video by Puck Yeah / Report by Paul Harrison
Despite a difference in size and stature, Chinese Taipei utilised their speed and skill to record a 3-0 victory against the New Zealand Ice Fernz in the first game of the IIHF Division 2B Women’s World Championship in Brasov, Romania.
From the drop of the puck, the Chinese Taipei team set the pace and intensity of the contest. The first 10 minutes saw New Zealand pinned down in its own territory, weathering numerous shots on goal, but with Ice Fernz goalie Lochlyn Hyde remaining resolute in her crease.
New Zealand went on the penalty kill with 5 minutes to run in the first period. Chinese Taipei controlled the puck with poise and clarity, deftly probing for any gap in the Kiwi defence. The initial shot from Hsu Ting-Yu was blocked, but the follow-up tap from Teng Yu-Ting and the momentum of players in the crease was enough to usher the puck across the line and put Chinese Taipei 1-0 ahead.
Having shaken off the first period jitters, the New Zealand team started with more confidence in their play, finding space in the neutral zone and connecting with longer passes.
New Zealand seemingly had the advantage when Chinese Taipei were penalised after 6 minutes of play, but the Chinese Taipei team apparently didn’t get the penalty kill memo, and pressured New Zealand with three consecutive breakaways before Yeh Hui-Chen managed to sneak the puck beneath new goalie Grace Harrison’s blocker.
Despite the improved performance of the Kiwis, Chinese Taipei still outshot the Ice Fernz 14-11 in the second frame.
Chinese Taipei consolidated their lead in the final period with a third goal during a powerplay when Hsu Ting-Yu Goal deflected a shot from inside the blueline behind Harrison.
With just under 2 minutes to play, Coach Park pulled the goalie, but the Ice Fernz were unable to capitalise on the extra-player advantage and the game rolled to a 3-0 result.
Despite the Ice Fernz being on the losing end of the scoresheet, there were plenty of positives to come out of the game: Hannah Shields excelled at the faceoff circle, winning 75% of the 16 puck drops. Jasmine Horner-Pascoe and Caitlin Heale each had 5 shots on goal, with both unlucky to score.
New Zealand’s MVP award for the game went to Jaime Jones, who played
with confidence and presence.
“She did the things we asked her do: shoot the puck, play a physical game, and skate it up if she saw the opportunity” said Ice Fernz head coach Rachel Park.
Despite the result Coach Park was philosophical about the loss. “The effort that we needed to bring was there. It was obvious how badly the girls had wanted (this win). But we just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
“It didn’t go in our favour but I couldn’t have asked any more from them. They gave it what they had,” said Park.
If New Zealand can find a way to further improve upon their combinations, the goals will come. They won’t have much time to dwell on the ‘what-ifs’ however, next up is Iceland on Wednesday (2:30am NZ time).