arrow arrow Where does the Womens Ice Hockey team go from here?
30.09.2022 . 06:11


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Where does the Womens Ice Hockey team go from here?
29.03.2018 . 12:43

What Next for Russia?

As their best Olympics finish ever draws to a close, the Russian program is loaded with some serious potential. The question is, how can they build on the momentum they are currently enjoying?

The Semi-Finals Were a Dream

Before now, getting to the Olympic semi-finals was a far-off dream for Russia’s women’s hockey team.

They did not manage to qualify for the Olympics in 1998, failed to get out of their group in 2002, in 2006, and once again in 2010, and they lost to the Swiss in the quarter-finals in 2014.

And, after a group stage showing that saw them score just 1 goal and concede 15, you would be forgiven for taking some time to look at NRL betting tips instead of those for this team!

But, after their win of 6 – 2 against Switzerland in the Pyeongchang quarter-finals, they managed to get through to the medal round, before finally falling to Finland in the game for the Bronze. They showed very well, however, against teams from the United States of America and Canada.

Where to From Here?

For starters, the majority of this team is not going anywhere: the only players who won’t at least in the running for the games in Beijing in 2022 are Nadezhda Alexandrova, the goaltender who will be 36-years old by then, and Svetlana Tkachyova, the defender who will be 37-years old.

Both these players were used relatively sparingly, anyway, with Alexandrova coming on in relief twice and Tkachyova averaging only around six and a half minutes on the ice for each game.

It would also come as no surprise to see Alexandra Vafina and Iya Gavrilova, who did not play at the Olympics, out of the pool by then as well.

Looking at who would be in line to replace them, the most obvious place to start would be the Under-18 pool, who managed to beat the Canadians and have gone on to play for Bronze for five years in a row.

Players Who Would Make a Good Addition

Up front, Ilona Markova, at 16-years old, was on the tournament All-Star team, while Oxan Bratisheva and Maria Alexandrova both made good showings as well, and none of these players are in any way set for early retirement.

But the player most widely considered to be the one to watch from the Under-18 group is Yelena Mezentseva.

Although Mezentseva has not pointed in either of the Under-18 tournaments she has played in, last year she posted a total of 24 points in 36 games for Biryusa Krasnoyarsk in the domestic league, at just 15-years old.

Mezentseva’s teammate, Yekaterina Dobrodoeyeva, has been at more than a point-per-game over the course of this season after posting 25 last year, and should also be looked at.

Both these players had to take things up a notch last season, when Valeriya Pavlova, the best player of the Biryusa group, was out on maternity leave.

When Beijing rolls around, many of the players from this year’s team will be in their mid-20s, and it will be interesting to see how they develop over the next few years.