Czech women’s ice hockey team claim their first major success

Czech women's ice hockey players with a historic bronze medal from the World Cup around their necks

The Czech women’s ice hockey team beat Switzerland 4-2 in the bronze medal match at the World Championships in Denmark on Sunday, winning their first medal from a major tournament. The Czechs dominated from the start and claimed the biggest success in the history of the country’s women’s hockey.

It was a historic moment for the Czech women’s ice hockey team as they watched the Czech flag being raised at the stadium in Denmark’s Fridrikshavn on Sunday, following their victory in the bronze match against Switzerland.

Daniela Pejšová scores the second goal of the Czech team in the match for bronze at the World Cup against Switzerland | Photo: Bo Amstrup,  ČTK/AP

The Czechs faced the Swiss team just two days after suffering a 10-goal loss to the US in the quarter-finals. But the team, coached by former Canadian defender Carla MacLeod of Calgary, bounced back, dominating the game right from the start.

Natálie Mlýnková scored the first goal for the Czechs in the seventh minute. The Swiss equalized during a power play midway through the opening period, but Daniela Pejšová put the Czechs back into the lead. They secured their victory in the second period of the match by scoring another two goals.

The team’s captain Kateřina Mills shared her feelings with Czech Radio right after the game:

Czech ice hockey player Dominika Lásková with a puck,  which the Swiss player,  Alessia Bächler,  is trying to get | Photo: Bo Amstrup,  ČTK/AP

“It’s amazing and unbelievable. It’s the best thing in the world I’ve ever experienced. It’s a result of the last two years, the tremendous amount of work that the girls put in the training, the amount of sacrifice they made. I think it’s a hugely deserved achievement.”

The central figure of the match against the Swiss was Natálie Mlýnková, who opened the scoring in the first period and also made her presence felt in the second period, when she scored the Czech team’s fourth goal.

Alena Mills and Sinja Leemann | Photo: Bo Amstrup / Ritzau Scanpix a,  ČTK/AP

“I don't like to assess myself, but I’m happy that it went well and that we scored more goals than our opponent. The team success comes first and it is most important thing. We wished for it, we went for it so far and we're happy that it came true.”

The Czech players started to celebrate immediately after the game, giving a cold shower to their coach Carla MacLeod as she entered the dressing room. MacLoed, who has been coaching the Czech team since April, commended the team for their hard work and consistency:

“That was the biggest objective this tournament, to be consistent at who we were and how we play. It payed off and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the group and more proud of what we accomplished.”

Czech team coach Carla MacLeod with a bronze medal | Photo: Bo Amstrup,  ČTK/AP

Coach MacLeod also said that finding confidence was one of the most important factors on their way to victory:

“What I am most proud of is that these women know that they can do it and that is something that can’t be taken away from them. You look at the future now and it is incredibly bright and you just have to keep pushing.

“We are not done yet. We have got a medal and we are going to keep pushing for the next one. That’s our job!”

Goalkeeper Blanka Škodová is happy about the bronze medal | Photo: Bo Amstrup,  ČTK/AP
Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Petr Mathauser
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