Russia to meet Latvia in final with an Austro-Hungarian affair in the bronze match

Herisau, Switzerland, May 5, 2018- Russia and Latvia will meet in the final of the 2018 IFF U19 Women’s Floorball World Championships B-Division with the gold and promotion to the 2020 A-Division the prize after successfully overseeing semi-finals against Austria and Hungary respectively. That set up an Austro-Hungarian affair to make for a fascinating bronze match up in the division, whilst New Zealand secured 15th place against the USA, and Canada came out on top in an all-Commonwealth clash with Australia to finish 13th in the overall tournament rankings.

B-Division, 15th place playoff (10:00 CET): New Zealand U19 6:2 USA U19

The tie for 15th place and to avoid finishing bottom of the pile was the first order of the day in Herisau, and New Zealand were comfortable against the Americans as the Kiwis’ first win of the campaign saw them finish on a high. 3:0 up by the interval with goals from Camryn Johnson, Mia Solomon, and Olivia Knackstedt, the USA never really had the chance to get going and the Southern Hemisphere outfit didn’t let up further strikes coming from Manisha Jeram and Hannah Bertschinger for 5:0. Vera Niskanen and Moa Bjork got two quick goals to salvage some pride for the Americans in the second period, but Bertschinger scored two minutes from the end to ensure the Kiwis had the last word. One win from four for New Zealand as the USA finish winless, a remarkable accolade for the Kiwis at their first ever appearance at this level.

B-Division, Semi-Final 1 (13:00 CET): Latvia U19 3:0 Hungary U19

Baltic side Latvia were the first to book their place in the B-Division promotion final with victory over Hungary. Much of the game was tight and tentative with both sides sounding each other out and adapting to each other’s respective game in the opening period, but Latvia got the crucial first goal four minutes from the opening interval through Leticija Kalve, and from there, their grip on the game tightened. Simona Grapena’s strike just before the half hour mark put the game beyond a spirited Hungary who had been unable to capitalise on their chances, and the clinical Julija Rozite punished their wastefulness, slotting in from a Laura Gaugere pass to give Latvia an unassailable cushion. A goalless final third of the game followed as the Latvians saw out the game in a professional manner, which hopefully will be abundant in the final to make it as entertaining a match-up as it deserves given the tournaments both teams have enjoyed so far.

B-Division, Semi-Final 2 (16:00 CET): Russia U19 8:3 Austria U19

Russia didn’t have it all their own way in this semi-final as they had to overturn an early deficit to get their noses in front and on the road to the final, but their adversaries buckled as the tie wore on for Vadim Pilipenko’s ruthless side to take advantage and finish with a flattering scoreline. Jana Gams had Austria in front by the seventh minute and although MVP Elizabeta Nadeeva replied before the first break, Russia only got ahead as the game approached the half hour mark, Mariia Basargina with a solo effort to give the Russians the lead. From that point, Austrian heads dropped, and after Anasatasiia Bulbash got the better of Austrian goalkeeper Viktoria Weitgasser who had until that point been impressive, a cagey game opened up from nothing. Basargina added a fourth for Russia before Gams and Pichler rallied to get Austria back to within a goal of parity at 4:3, but their momentum was halted with 11 minutes left as Tatiana Kozlova scored for 5:3. From there, the Austrians imploded, Basargina, Anastasiia Skirdenko and Sofia Rumiantseva-Mishina capitalising on dropped heads and lacklustre defending in the last ten minutes to rack up a flattering score in a game that for the first 50 minutes was much tighter. Nonetheless, Russia face the final, Austria local neighbours Hungary for the B-Division Bronze and with it, 11th place.

B-Division, 13th place playoff (19:00 CET): Australia U19 1:5 Canada U19

The first ever all-Commonwealth clash at these championships between Australia and Canada concluded the day’s proceedings in the B-Division to settle the formality of 13th place, and bar a slight scare when Annie Lean pulled the score to 2:1 following opening Canadian strikes by Kaitlyn Fung and Meghan Jefferies, the Maple Leaves were near always in control of the tie and never looked like relinquishing it. Hunter Jones was instrumental once more in goal with 19 saves throughout, as Canada held the score at 2:1 through the second period and into the third, but then was the cutting edge going forward that made the difference and made this win their finest and most comfortable at these championships, Kaitlyn Fung taking advantage of increasing Australian tiredness to stretch the lead to 3:1, Sophie Simard and Scout Watkins-Southward touching on the gloss in the last four minutes as the Aussies ran out of steam at the last. Canada finish 13th, whilst a 14th place finish is credit to Australia at their first World Championships.