Tag: Martyna Sass

The Silver Lining. 5 Thoughts 2022 Women’s World Championships Division 1 Group B

For the first time since 2019, the World Championships were back. After two years of COVID cancellation, we finally got to see the Women’s senior team play at the IIHF World Championships again. It has been a while since we have last seen the team, and a lot has changed. Poland got in a team in the European Women’s Hockey League, and numerous players went outside Poland to develop their craft. This team was coming off qualifying for the final round of Olympic Qualification for the first time in team history as they upset the Netherlands. Could the team continue to make history in 2022?

Poland got off to a hot start right away defeating the oldest team in the tournament, Kazakhstan, 3-1. In game two, it was a huge goaltending battle as Sass took on NCAA goalie Pia Dukaric, Sass would come out on top as Poland beat Slovenia 4-0. Next up was South Korea, which had been a thorn in Poland’s side during the 2019 Worlds. Korea remained a thorn, but not too much as Poland won 2-1. Game four saw Poland take on Italy, which had defeated Poland in 2014, 2017, and 2018. This time, for the first time, Poland took down Itlay after some overtime heroics from Wiktoria Gogoc. This win set up a winner take all game five between Poland and group favorites China. Unfortunately, China would win that game easily after a strong first period with a final score of 7-2.

The 100 Club

Both Karolina Pozniewska and Klaudia Chrapek hit the 100-game mark for the Polish national team. An amazing and rare achievement. Especially when you consider the women’s senior team has only been active in the IIHF since 2011, only 49 games at the World Championships. Their dedication to growing the game in Poland is inspiring, and both have already left an amazing legacy while continuing to help Poland reach new heights. When they played their first games for team Poland, the team started all the way down in Division Two group B. Now Poland is on the cusp of Division 1 Group A, in just a decade.

Wall of Sass

Sass continues to dominate the game. She went toe to toe with some great goalies in this tournament and came out on top all but once. If you take away the game versus China, Sass stopped 97 of the 103 shots she faced, a .942 save percentage. Sass was named the best goaltender of the tournament, and probably turned some heads in the scouting world with her performance at the Worlds and with her club teams. She had to make some really tough saves at the Worlds as well.

Defensive Struggles

Poland’s defense was completely overmatched at this tournament. It was not the entire lineup, but it was a major problem. It hurt the team massively and wasn’t just against China. It really stood out versus Italy and South Korea as well. All tournament teams would generate big chances off massive mistakes by the Polish defense. It wasn’t a matter of bad positioning, it was just bad awareness and decision-making. Something you would hope would improve as players gain more experience but this was a problem with quite a few veterans.

A Complete Offense

While defensively, there may have been some bad plays, Poland’s defense stepped up huge in the opposing zone for the most part. The whole offense seemed to play with a lot of confidence. Poland scored the second-most goals in the tournament with 16, five more than second-place Italy. The forward group was making plays, while the defense launched quite a few shots from the point, in fact, five of Poland’s eight defensemen scored a goal at the tournament.

The Silver Lining

Poland took home silver. They lost to a China team that is more North American than it is Chinese. The import rules need not apply in the circumstances China got and it sucks. The IIHF thought it was fine to let a team that posted two wins in the elite division just play back down in Group B. Poland and Itlay both played at the Olympic qualification tournament this past year, and were killed in the final round. The second the imports returned it was China’s tournament. Poland would have to play more than perfect to survive, but they had a rough first period and it quickly became 6-0. Poland would only allow one more goal the rest of the way. China was only held scoreless in a single period the whole tournament and that was the second period versus Poland. A 7-2 defeat against a team that can win at the elite level is a sign of progress.

A silver medal is the best Polish finish of all time. While you can be upset about the China game, what Poland did in this tournament still made history, as they have done all year. Last year it was a bronze medal, now it is the first silver medal in Division 1. They beat 16th ranked Italy, the highest-ranked opponent Poland has ever defeated. On top of all that, Poland was the second youngest team at the tournament. They’re going to be back next year for gold.

Quick Thoughts

– Olivia Tomczok only played in three games, her missing the final two hit the team’s forward depth hard. A great forward even scored in game 1 against Kazakhstan.

– In her first tournament for team Poland Ukrainian import Tatiana Onyshchenko looked great. She added one goal and two assists.

– Dominika Korkuz really made some great plays in this tournament and picked her corner perfectly on her first national team goal.

– Former national team forward Magdalena Czaplik served as the equipment manager for the team. This was her first senior team staff appointment, congrats to her! She has been working behind the scenes for the U18 squad since 2018 while her playing career was still active.

– Julia Zielinska’s offensive game is really getting to the next level. Really has a chance of being an elite two-way player.

If you want to keep up with all the Polish hockey action, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey, like our Facebook page, and add us on Instagram @PolishPuck_.

On to the Worlds… 5 Thoughts Women’s Olympic Qualification

For the first time in their young history, the Polish women’s senior team found themselves with Olympic hopes. They headed into the final round of Olympic qualification with their heads held high after an upset win over the Netherlands. This meant Poland would face top competition, the best they have ever faced. Poland is currently 19th ranked in the world, while their competition was Czechia (7th), Hungary (10th), and Norway (13th).

Everyone expected blowouts going in, but that doesn’t make them easier to watch. In the end, Poland dropped all three games by a decent margin. Poland lost to Hungary 11-1, then Czechia 16-0, before the final that Norway took 7-1. It was a sobering experience for a program that experienced so many highs recently. A reminder that while women’s hockey in Poland is expanding at a rapid rate, there is a lot left to do. 

A hot start at least. 

In a tournament where Poland had a goal margin of negative -32 would you believe me that Poland held an early lead in their first game. This was thanks to a Julia Zielinska shot that resulted in a great rebound for Wiktoria Sikorska. Through half a period, Poland had not allowed a goal and was able to take a lead. Hungary would finish the period with a 3-1 lead. The red and white also managed 8 shots on goal which would be the most a period for Poland in a tournament. It was one of the few periods that showed Poland had a chance to stay competitive. 

TV Stars

It is not often that hockey in Poland gets to be televised. There are maybe a few PHL games that get broadcasted, while the Men’s national team also usually sees its larger games reach the nation. This time both rounds of the women’s Olympic qualification were on TV, I believe these are the first women’s national team games to be on TVP Sport. Hopefully inspiring the next generation to take up hockey! While the ratings were not great, at an average of 25K for the final round. The games where Poland won in the previous round did over 60,000 and 80,000 respectively. If you want to get viewers in Poland you have to win. 

The Young Core

By the time the next Olympic cycle comes around in 2026. 16 members of this team will be 28-years-old or younger, 5 being U23 still. The young players were a key part of the team. Sikorska was one of only two goal scorers while leading Poland in shots with 10. Zielinska recorded an assist while leading Polish defensewomen in shots. Ida Talanda centered the bottom lines, and Lapies was able to make the team at just 15-years-old. 


Sass has always been team Poland’s savior. Keeping them in games they have no reason to be in. That was still true for this tournament. Sass faced over 125 shots, the most in the tournament by over 25. She allowed 25 goals in 3 games. 7 of the goals against came when Poland was shorthanded. I mean when the shot chart looks like this. What are you supposed to do? 

On to the Worlds 

After the tournament, coach Ivan Bednar told IIHF.com, “I’m very pleased with how we played here this week, we knew what we were coming into when we qualified for this group, and that it was going to be a difficult task and I think we handled the situation well.”

Again everyone expected the blowouts, it hurts to see. But the growth of the women’s side in Poland has happened so quickly. It is crazy you still have members of the first team to play IIHF events playing with players like Sikorska and Zielinska who play in leagues probably thought to be decades away at one point. More and more young Polish players are getting chances outside Poland as well. The EWHL and strong programs continue to develop players in-house. Playing deep in the Olympic qualifiers is a new high for Poland. 

We now move on to the Worlds for this group. Poland will be facing much more even competition. Italy (16th), Korea (17th), China (20th), Kazakhstan (21st), and Slovenia (23rd). The last time we saw this group play at the Worlds, they took Bronze. I would say that is the expectation with a goal of silver.  

Quick Thoughts 

  • For the tournament, we saw two new coaches behind the Polish bench. Former national team and Gdansk player Joanna Detmer stepped in as an assistant coach. While former Slovak Tipsport Liga goalie Lubomir Babura was the team goalie’s coach. 
  • Other staff news, congrats to former GKS Katowice goalie Kamil Berggruen on his first IIHF role as equipment manager. 
  • I am not one to ever care about faceoffs, but both Pozniewska and Wieczorek managed to stay at or get close to .500. This is surprising given how most of Czechia and Hungary were 60% or more. 
  • Tetiana Onyshchenko was not present for this tournament. The Ukrainian forward is believed to be picking up Polish citizenship. 
  • Sorry for not posting and for late posts recently. A new job and life after college does not afford me the same writing time.

If you want to keep up with all the Polish hockey action, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey, like our Facebook page, and add us on Instagram @PolishPuck_.

2020 Top 30 Women’s U20 Players. #2

While this is not the time when I initially wanted to start this list, as I was hoping to have the Women’s World Championships to help distinguish some players at the top of the list. The coronavirus outbreak has effectively canceled or postponed all tournaments for the year.

This really is a bummer for Polish hockey with the amount of young talent they have at their disposal. It definitely seemed liked Poland had a chance to earn promotion at this year’s senior world championship. Women’s hockey in Poland is vastly on the rise with more players each year and a quick ability to develop players that are able to compete outside of Poland in stronger leagues. The talent pool has evolved so quickly that we have doubled our list size from last year. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but the future is bright. Today we continue our 2020 ranking of the top 30 U20 Women’s players in Poland.

A player has to be 20 or younger on March 13th, 2020. There is no minimum age to make the list. Players are judged based on a combination of career history, current play, and potential.

Players #30-20     Players #6-4

Players #19-15     Players #3

Players #14-10

Players #9-7

Rank – Player Name (Position), Age During Next Hockey Season, Team (Ranking in 2019, change in ranking)

2 – Martyna Sass (G), 20, Popradské líšky, (2,0)

Last year in her ranking article I posted this picture.

faceoff percentage is actually save percentage, but Slovakia’s hockey federation’s auto-translate has it as faceoff.

She dominated every single goaltending statistic. Well, guess what?

sass 2020

Back to back years in leading in every goaltending statistic in the top Slovak women’s league. Among players with at least ten games played Sass was the only one with a save percentage above .900 and the only goalie with a goals-against-average below two, where she leads by 1.03. Her stat line was absolutely ridiculous in Slovakia again, but it legit isn’t the only league she dominated this year.

Sass also appeared in seven games for the Silesia Brackens, in the EWHL. There she posted a .934 SV% and a 2.58 GAA. Her save percentage was seventh in the league among goalies with at least five games played. No matter for what club or league, Sass appeared in this year she completely locked it down.

Sass was great for Poland on the international stage as well, her best game coming vs. South Korea at the Legacy Cup tournament, where the South Korean team only got one past her compared to three last year at the World Championships. She faced off again the Czech U18 squad at the Legacy Cup as well. She played up to her standard allowing two goals that came off really lucky deflections in front. It was the type of performance that really hyped how well she was going to play at the World Championships, including a rematch against South Korea.

Poland is set in net with Sass for a long time. She is the best goalie in Poland by a wide margin, and that isn’t a shot at her backups. Sass is the most vital player on team Poland as she has the ability to straight-up steal any game for Poland. I think playing in the EWHL this year, should continue to aid her development. Sass is going to be considered one of the top European goalies of all time her career is all said and done.

If you want to keep up with all the offseason news, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey and like our Facebook page.




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.

If you want to keep up with all the news, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey and like our Facebook page.

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.


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.

giphy (3)

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.

If you want to keep up with all the offseason news, make sure to follow us on Twitter @PolandHockey and like our Facebook page.