This past weekend all 5 of Poland’s teams that compete at IIHF were in action. The teams were playing their first games together as they get ready for their IIHF events later in the year. Before the weekend recap, a reminder of this year’s World Championships!
Mens: Division 1 Group B April 28, 2019 – May 4, 2019 in Tallin, Estonia.
Women’s: Division 1 Group B April 6 – 12, 2019 in Beijing, China
Men’s U20: Division 1 Group B December 8-14, 2018 in Tychy, Poland
Men’s U18: Division 2 Group A April 7 – 13, 2019 in Elektrenai, Lithuania
Women’s U18: Division 1 Group B January 6 – 12, 2019 Dumfries, Great Britain
The men’s team hosted an EIHC and well it was something. The Polish team was missing a lot of talent, as a lot of top talent is boycotting the national team right now. This left Poland with a very young team. The battle with the player association wasn’t the only problem for the PZHL at this tournament. Before the tournament started, Noureddine Bettahar, a Polish national team forward, took a puck to the head in practice and is still in a hospital, due to the injury. On the first day, Austria’s equipment didn’t arrive and their opening match was postponed till later in the day. The first game was between Poland and Denmark would be suspended at the start of the third period due to bad ice conditions. Austria’s and Norway’s game was never played due to the ice issues. The decision was made to just forget about the first day’s games. Poor attendance was also something that got pointed out a lot. Gdansk is a great hockey city and the PZHL failed to capitalize on it. Off the ice, this tournament was a failure for the PZHL, but on the ice, it was a success. Poland had a very young squad with fill-ins being borderline national team players or making their senior team debut. This team stayed competitive in all 2 2/3 games that they played and while their competition didn’t bring their top rosters, the competition is better than what Poland will face at the World Championships. Valtonen definitely appeared to be the right coach for team Poland.
Poland 1 – Denmark 0 (Play suspended at beginning of the 3rd period)
Poland 2 – Norway 4
Poland 0 – Austria 2
The Women’s team traveled to Latvia for 2 exhibition games against Latvia. They dominated both games that finished with a goal differential of plus 12 for Poland. Latvia is in Poland’s group at the World Championships, so it is something you love to see. Kamila Wieczorek scored 6 goals in the two games.
Poland 6 – 1 Latvia
Poland 7 – 0 Latvia
The U20 team played in a 3 game tournament against Ukraine’s U20 squad and BFSO Dynamo a team of u20 players that compete in Belarus’ third league. Poland blew past Ukraine but struggled early against Dynamo. They would prevail beating Dynamo 4-3 though, securing first place in the tournament. The starting goalie job at the World Juniors should be Sebastian Lipinski, that is for sure. The U20 offense produced like I hoped it would. Poland should have a very strong showing at the U20s this year.
Poland 6 – 1 Ukraine
Poland 4 – 3 BFSO Dynamo (Overtime)
The Men’s U18 team played a couple games in Slovakia. They would win the first one against HK ŠKP Poprad U18, but lose the second game to HK Dukla Trencin U18. There isn’t much to say about these games other than it is good practice and this won’t be the final roster.
Poland 5 – 0 HK ŠKP Poprad U18
Poland 1 – 5 HK Dukla Trencin U18
The Women’s U18 team hosted a tournament with Spain, Great Britain, and Hungary participating. The women’s team definitely has a bright future with Wiktoria Sikorska and Zuzanna Baran being especially impressive in this tournament. Poland would finish 2nd in the tournament suffering one loss to Hungary.
Poland 3 – 0 Spain
Poland 3 – 2 Great Britain
Poland 1 – 4 Hungary