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5. Wiktoria Gogoc
Gogoc has been considered one of Poland’s best defensemen for a long time now. Despite being only 18-years-old, she has already represented Poland on the senior level four different times. She was named the captain of Poland’s u18 team in 2017-18. She plays a two-way game and has the ability to rush the puck.
Gogoc was able to thrive early in her career against tough competition. From 2015-2017, she played in the top Slovakian’s women league. In 40 games, she recorded 14 goals and 21 assists. In 2017-18 she would return to the PLHK with Naprzod Janow. In her first season back in the PLHK she had 7 points (3G, 4A) in 22 games. Gogoc also played 6 games and scored 1 goal at the Men’s u16 level. For this season, she moved to Polonia Bytom. In Bytom she won the PLHK championship this year, contributing 3 points (2G, 1A) in 4 playoff games. She had 2 assist in 7 regular season games. Her production decreases in the PLHK are a bit concerning.
These PLHK trends add to more concern after her performance at last year’s World Championships. In 207-18, she failed to record a single shot in 5 games, along with being heavily overmatched by the competition at times. I don’t want to judge her performance at his year’s worlds too much due to the fact that there was no way to view the event outside of actually being in China. Gogoc was on the lone defensive pairing, with Natalia Kaminska, that had a negative goal differential. She also scored a powerplay goal at the tournament for Poland.
Gogoc still remains of Poland’s top choices on defense. Her game should still continue to improve and as more strong offesnive players join into the line up making her skill set more useful.
4. Zuzanna Baran
Baran slots in at number four after a very strong U18 championship that saw her finish second on the team in points with 4 (1G, 3A). She was also put in a leadership position with being named an assistant captain.
Baran’s made her PLHK team debut in 2016-17 with KS Cracovia 1906, scoring 3 goals in 4 games. Her season was mostly spent with MKHL Krynica in the Slovakian league. In Slovakia, she had 6 points (1G, 5A) in 19 games. She would have a similar situation in the 2017-18 season. She only played one game in the PLHK, spending most of her time in Slovakia again with Krynica. She increased her production by a lot, scoring 8 goals and putting up 2 assist in 18 games. MKHL Krynica would not compete in the Slovakian league for 2018-19. Baran had shown enough in her time to earn a spot with one of the top clubs in the Slovakian league.
Baran, with Ida Talanda, are the lone Polish players to play in the Slovakia women’s league for a club other than Popradské líšky. The 16-year-old suited up for Sarisanka Prešov this season. She had 23 points (14G, 9A) in 20 games, this was good for 13th in the league. It was the 4th most by any player under 18. Baran is part of the strong emerging core of superb offensive skilled players. She has already proven her abilities in the Slovakian league and I hope to see her take on more challenges in the future.