Herisau, Switzerland, May 4, 2018 - May the 4th turned into an appropriate lightspeed ride of incredible Floorball fixtures, as the B-Division Group Phase reached its climax. Latvia eased aside Austria to top Group C in the morning fixture, and the Sbornaya of Russia eventually edged out a tense encounter with Hungary to win Group D.
Meanwhile, Australia played out an enthralling stalemate with the USA to clinch third place in Group C by virtue of their superior goal difference, before Canada made sure of third in Group D after beating New Zealand.
B-Division Group C (10:00 CET): Latvia U19 20:1 Austria U19
During the first encounter of the day, Latvia entertained Austria in the early B-Division match in Herisau. Both already through, this would settle the formality of group winners. Early into the first third, it seemed clear where the game was swinging. Out of the 17 shots Latvia had on goal, seven found the net for a convincing lead going into the first interval. Seven goals without reply followed in the second period for Latvia, before Austria finally got on the scoresheet in the third period. The Austrians finished with a whimper though, another seven Latvian goals in the final third completing a 20:1 rout, lynch-pin Anna Ankudinova finishing up with five goals, more than any other player. The Baltic side have been free-scoring throughout the group stage, and can now look forward to a semi-final date with Hungary.
B-Division Group C (13:00 CET): Australia U19 3:3 USA U19
300 supporters were in attendance for Australia’s clash with the USA, with third place the prize for the winner, and it made for a raucous atmosphere which contributed to a pulsating match-up. The Americans made all the early headway, Selma Johansson and Sophia Leuma firing them into a 2:0 lead in the first three minutes. It took a while for Australiato steady themselves and gain a foothold in the match, but they found a route back in by the closing stages of the second period, Aussie MVP Gabrielle Palme netting to halve the deficit. Then 46 seconds after the restart in the final third, Australia were level, breaking with pace from a US attack to send Robin Walsh clear, who fired across the goalkeeper and into the top corner for 2:2. If that got the Aussie fans going, they were in raptures just under two minutes later as Palme rifled home to complete the comeback and give the girls from ‘Down Under’ a remarkable lead. The celebrations were cut short as Dinah Espinal salvaged an American equaliser with two minutes left on the clock, but neither team could force a winner, Australia snatching third place courtesy of their superior goal difference. That sets up a 13th place classification tie against Canada, whilst the USA face New Zealand where they will hope to avoid finishing bottom of the overall tournament rankings.
B-Division Group D (16:00 CET): New Zealand U19 1:3 Canada U19
This match was another case of settling formalities, the Kiwis taking on the Maple Leaves with third place in Group D the prize for the winner, with the semi-final spots already having been decided. This was another tight affair between two battling sides, Sydney Ward’s opening strike for Canada cancelled out by New Zealand’s Georgia Kibblewhite before the first interval. A more turbulent second period followed, however, New Zealand missing a string of guilt-edged chances before Canada punished their profligacy in front of goal, Nicole McDonald restoring the lead for the North American side with just under four minutes until the second interval. Scout Watkins-Southward settled Canadian nerves seven minutes into the final third with a tidy finish, meaning Jasmine Baxter’s missed penalty right at the end for the Maple Leaves mattered little.
B-Division Group D (19:00 CET): Russia 5:2 Hungary
With both nations already safely through to the last-four, this match was a battle for top spot in Group D and a semi-final against the runner-up of Group C the prize. It didn’t disappoint either, a tense match eventually settled by the brilliance of Russian lynch-pin Anastasiia Bulbash. It was her who set Russia on their way early on, before Anna Fulop drew the Hungarians level almost immediately. Chances came and went in abundance for both sides, the next goal not coming until the 27th minute when Elizabeta Nadeeva broke through Hungary’s resistance, but again the lead didn’t withstand, Anna Trombitas firing a leveller to bring Hungary back on terms. Both missed chances to win it as the game ticked over into the final third, but it was the brilliant Bulbash who finally shattered Hungary’s resolve, firing home for 3:2 with 12 minutes remaining, and after Sofia Rumiantseva-Mishina put the game beyond doubt at 4:2 with four minutes left, Bulbash helped herself to Russia’s fifth 30 seconds later to seal it. The Sbornaya now look forward to a semi-final date with Austria, whilst Hungary prepare themselves to face free-scoring Latvia for a place in the final.
U19WFC 04.05.2018 LAT - AUT
U19WFC 04.05.2018 AUS - USA
U19WFC 04.05.2018 NZL - CAN
U19WFC 04.05.2018 HUN - RUS