Photo Credit: Drago Cvetanovic
What a day at the World Championships. We wouldn’t of thought it would of been as tense as it was earlier and after a defeat yesterday, GB are back in business. Which brings us nicely to our first thing we learned today….
Great Britain are back in the tournament
There’s no doubt about it. After Sunday’s defeat to Korea where GB were undoubtedly very disappointed indeed, they have been given a get out of jail free card and it sets up winner-takes-all tie against Poland on Thursday lunchtime.
They were put under a lot of pressure by Slovenia especially in the first period and when things weren’t exactly going brilliantly for GB in the 2nd period, however in the end they pulled off a good performance. They’ll have to step up for Thursday, but GB have it in their own hands which is the most important thing.
The Polish are physical, aggressive can be unflappable
In a lot of ways, Poland and Great Britain are quick alike at this tournament. Both physical and strong and enjoy playing that side of the game as well. They’ve also got great passing and both know where the net is.
But the key attribute that Poland displayed today was mental toughness. We’ve seen a lot of teams over the years subjected the type of pressure that Korea put on them especially in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period, but they steadfastly refused to crack. This was impressive and if GB think they will be able to simply pressure their way to a win, they may as well hand the Gold Medal to Poland now.
Korea need to work on their mental strength
For long parts of the game, Korea looked truly superb. Forechecking and backchecking as good as we’ve ever seen at this level of women’s hockey and looked truly fierce. But the goal rocked them and almost immediately their shape began to deteriorate which hurt them. While here at 482Days we think it was a poor decision from the referee to allow Poland’s second goal, Korea should of played to the whistle and protected their netminder better, which they didn’t.
They’ve still got time, but this is a key aspect of their game that they will need to improve upon ahead of the Winter Olympics where they will be up against higher quality opposition than at this tournament.
DPR have to be ready to play from the first puck drop in future
For a first seeded team to be two goals down in three minutes isn’t acceptable and DPR Korea will know that. They’ll have to start quicker in their final two games. With their next game against Slovenia, a similar start could be a tougher test and that would be a far more difficult position to get them out of.
Slovenia are on their way back and looking to develop
We said it in our team preview that we felt that Slovenia were a side on the way back. It may sound strange to say this after the scoreline tonight, but we do feel that there are genuine signs of life within the programme. The passing was good, as was the skating and in some areas they have some real quality. Icing a 15 year old Goalkeeper in Pia Dukaric against GB was a huge for them, it’s a great stage to make your debut and she’ll of learnt a ton and is already a good talent with plenty of time to learn.
We know that they also need to work on a lot, but for us, there’s green shoots coming up in the Slovenian programme for sure. They just need to keep at it.