Tag: Martyna Sass

Legacy Cup Shows More Signs of Progress For The Polish Women’s Senior Team

In their biggest test before the World Championship, the Women’s senior team traveled to South Korea to take on South Korea, Germany’s B team, and the Czech Republic U18 squad. While that sounds like a random assortment of teams, it gave Poland a variety of tests. Promising defensemen, Julia Zielinska made her senior debut at only 15 years old. Most of the team has played together this year with the Silesia Brackens in the Elite Women’s Hockey Leauge. The players on that team should be developing great chemistry and improving their game after competing against stronger players. While younger players have traveled beyond Poland to evolve their game. 

Game 1: Poland Defeats South Korea 4-1

South Korea took the early lead in this one after a lucky bounce off of Patrycja Sfora’s face. Poland would mostly control the rest of the game with Kamila Wieczorek recording three goals and one assist. Sass was brilliant in net. This was a big and convincing victory for Poland. They will play South Korea again in Poland at the Division 1B World Championship in April. South Korea took silver at the event last year, while Poland finished third. South Korea had beat Poland 4-3 at the event last year. South Korea is also ranked, above Poland, at 16 in the IIHF senior rankings.

Game 2: Poland Loses In Overtime to Germany B 4-3

This was Germany’s B senior team. I wasn’t even really able to find a roster online for the team. They did beat Czechia U18 and finished first in the tournament overall. Germany’s primary senior team is also the ninth-ranked team in the IIHF, so their B team can’t be too bad. This game was very winnable for Poland, and they played well. They had a few nice goals and strong chances, just couldn’t finish. Agata Kosinska got the start for Poland in this one. The first two goals against were pretty weak, but she mostly seemed to find her stride after that. Germany’s overtime goal came on a poor aggressive choice combined with an unfortunate line change. Poland looked good, but I don’t really know how to properly evaluate this game without knowing the German roster.

Game 3: Poland Loses A Close One to Czechia U18 2-1

This game was the one that feels like a harsh slap in the face back to reality. Going up against the Czech Republic’s u18 squad, Poland played well and was mostly the better team, but failed to win. Their only goal was a blast from just outside the point from Klaudia Chrapek. Sass played great in net for Poland as expected. Big picture though, the Czech Republic is the eight-ranked team in the women’s IIHF rankings. This was their U18 squad, and Poland couldn’t pull out the win.

Earlier this year, the Czechia U18 squad beat Poland U18 15-1. The Czech Republic is a top division team, and it would take close to a perfect decade for Poland to come close to catching them. Poland has been able to produce players like Kamila Wieczorek, Wiktoria Sikorska, and Julia Zielinska, who can compete with these teams, but the rest of Poland looks so far behind. These depth issues should continue to improve slowly. It will be a long time before Poland is a strong competitor in Divison 1 Group A. However, this tournament showed Poland can beat their strongest returning competitor in South Korea, and stayed competitive versus a relegated Italy earlier this year. Promotion to Division 1 Group A is possible, which is the next step.

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Top 15 Female U20 Polish Players. #2 Martyna Sass

The hardest choice in this ranking was who to put second and first. It was tough to pick one over the other, but in the end, Martyna Sass gets the two spot. Sass is a dominate goalie the likes of which Poland’s women team has never seen. To show her dominance, here are the goaltending leaders in the Slovak women’s league.

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She leads the league in every statistical category and by a wide margin. She is easily the best goaltender in the league at 18-years-old. The rest of the league had 6 shutouts, while Sass had 7. She was too good for the league. She led in the league in save percentage by over 2 percent. This is part of why Popradské líšky, Sass’ club team,  was able to capture the championship. This was Sass’ first season playing outside of Poland and proved that she needs some even tougher competition. She completely broke the Slovakian league. This year, she also spent time with Naprzod Janow’s Mens U16 team like she has done in previous seasons. Before moving to Slovakia, Sass had played for Naprzod Janow in the PLHK since she was fourteen.

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Sass caught the attention of the national team at an early age being named Poland’s U18 starting goalie at 14-years-old in 2014-15. She earned the starting job on the senior team just a year later and gave a brilliant performance putting up a .933% save percentage and 1.83 goals against average in 5 games. This helped the Polish women’s team get promoted to Divison 1 Group B for the first time in team history. Sass was named the MVP of team Poland for the tournament. Sass’ play caught a lot of attention, and she was invited to IIHF training camps with former World Champions, and top camps in Finland. Since then Sass has not looked back and been the starting goalie for Poland at the last three World Championships, and at the Olympic Qualifiers. Her most impressive performance coming at this year’s World Championship where she put up a dazzling .930% save percentage in 5 games.  She was once again named the MVP of team Poland for the third time in her career. In total, her trophy case is pretty full with three U18s bronze medals, three senior team Poland MVPs, 2 U18 best goaltender awards, and a D1B World Championship bronze medal.

Sass continues to get better at every tournament she plays at and no matter how the strong the competition is she always gives Poland a chance to win. Her ability to steal games for Poland will always put Poland in contention for gold medals. While she is number two on our list, there may be not a more important member of the Polish national team, men or women. Sass still has a long career ahead of her, but her professional status currently remains unknown. She may return to Slovakia, or try her hand at a stronger league. Wherever she plays there is one guarantee, Sass is a brick wall and will stop anything you throw at her.

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