The women’s U18 team had a hot start to the tournament winning their first two games, but could not overcome group favorites France and Norway. In the end, they finished 4th place this year. This group faced a lot of adversity with not a lot of players returning from the 2018 bronze medal team, especially core members. This tournament shows the next generation of Polish player is still strong.
When you see a player put up stats like 10 points in 5 U18 games, you can usually guess that they may be an older player who is in their final year of eligibility. It is rare for that player to have another year of eligibility. Wiktoria Sikorska has two years of eligibility left. Sikorska is the next star of Polish hockey without a doubt. In 5 games this tournament, she had 7 goals and 3 assists. She lead the tournament in goals and points while finishing tied for 2nd in the assists. Sikorska plays in the top level of women’s hockey in the Czech Republic at only 15! In 5 games this year with SK Karvina, she has 5 points. If you want to see all her goals from the U18s click here.
This team would struggle mightily on the defensive end. They allowed the 2nd most shots in the tournament and had some struggles with breaking the puck out. This defensive unit is very young though, the average age was 15.14. This was the youngest in the tournament. Julia Zielinska was the highlight of the group. The 14-year-old showed off some nice offensive potential including this shot from the point goal against the Netherlands.
When a team struggles defensively, you would expect their penalty kill to suffer as well. That was not the case with this Polish team. Despite spending 26 minutes and 14 seconds shorthanded, 2nd most time in the tournament, Poland only allowed one powerplay goal. That is pretty good! I must note though that both France and Norway allowed zero goals in their combined 39 plus minutes shorthanded. This may take away from stat given the weak powerplays they faced, but given defense was this team’s weakness I still think its impressive.
This team had some great celebrations. It was really nice to see the energy and them having fun. Enjoy
As I mentioned earlier this team showed the next generation of Polish players is talented. Despite the team not performing the best, future core members like Julia Zielinska, Wiktoria Sikorska, and Maja Blaszkow performed well. I expect this team to come back next year very strong. The future is bright for women’s hockey in Poland.
– Helena Grzybowska did fine in net, but she doesn’t have the game stealer ability like Sass. She is still in line to be apart of the national team for a while though
– The production of this event was terrible. Putting games behind a paywall while the top division is free is dumb. It doesn’t help the grow the game at all and the broadcast wasn’t worth it. The broadcast had no play by play for games besides Great Britain and terrible camera work.