Coming into this hockey year, I predicted that both of the Polish women’s team would be able to earn promotion during 2020. Poland’s U18 team had a roster that featured almost everyone returning from the previous year. The key players were taking more huge steps in their careers and gaining valuable experience. My prediction did not occur, as Poland struggled to generate any offense during the tournament. On the final day, the offense would explode with five goals to keep Poland from being relegated. It was the best Poland played all-tournament, but how did the rest of the tournament go?
Attack on Titans
There was a huge size difference in this tournament for Poland. Going by average height, Poland was the second smallest team in this tournament. It was very noticeable at times as taller opponents were just able to push through Polish defenders. It is something that Poland can’t really fix either. It was by no means the disadvantage that lost Poland games, but it was certainly a big hurdle.
Iga Schramm made her fourth and final appearance for the Polish U18 squad and she did fantastic. She recorded two goals and two assists, which tied Sikorska for the team lead. She looked very confident rushing the puck and had a solid shot. Schramm was second on team Poland in shots with 21. The Poznan center was great in the faceoff draw as well. Schramm appears to be another solid piece towards Poland’s future.
Best In Net. Best My Chemical Romance Song.
Helena Grzybowska had an absolute standout performance in net. She faced the second-most shots in the tournament and finished with the second-highest save percentage at .948. She kept Poland in every single game of this tournament and absolutely proved that Sass is not Poland’s only goalie capable of starting. Every part of her game was impressive.
Sikorska’s Off Tournament
Wiktoria Sikorska served as captain for Poland at this tournament. It was obvious to anyone watching that she was the best player on the ice for Poland. In her first trip to the U18s she had five points, last year she had ten points, this year only four points. In a tournament, where Poland needed scoring badly their best player did not produce as expected. Sikorska will be able to represent Poland at one more U18 tournament next year.
A Moral Victory
I don’t believe in moral victories in sports. This tournament was as close as they come through in my opinion. Poland took Austria to overtime and battled hard with Norway.
This team and sport is making progress in Poland. Their performances are getting better and better by a wide margin every year. They played so well defensively that if they were just a fraction better on offense we would be talking about Poland’s first gold medal team of the 2019-20 season.
– This was one of the best defensive performances by any Polish team in recent memory. They were very good limiting at high danger chances.
– Julia Zielinska had some ups and downs this tournament, but her highs showed why she is the future of Poland on defense
– Ida Talanda has some potential and could make for an interesting prospect.
– eight departures from the team are coming, most of them having spent two or three tournaments on the U18 squad. Both goalies are also leaving. This will be a really different team next year and Poland women’s hockey will hopefully show a lot of growth.