The Australian U18 Women Junior Flyers hit the ice in Game 3 of their 2024 World Championship campaign. After two defeats, the team had a day off tournament duties to recovery and prepare for an important game against the highly rated and experienced Korean team.
Team Australia came flying out of the blocks in their last game of the tournament by peppering the net with multiple players in the offensive action. With 5 shots on target in the first 5 minutes the junior flyers were looking threatening! At the 7-minute mark Sophie Reader found herself open and pinged a cracker into the back of the net to open the account for Australia. A minute later Chinese Taipei tasted their first piece of penalty box action and sent Australia on a power play. A decent crack from Hannah Cryan was saved by the busy opposition goalie and it was back to full strength. With 5 minutes to go, and Australia dominating play, it was again Georgia Watts for the double who smashed it home for the Flyers’ second.
With 3 minutes to go Australia went other second power play and almost scored again through some crafty work by Lucy York. Aussie Ava Caruso evened up the headcount with some time in the box. The Junior Flyers continued their assault on net through some outstanding work by Tash Dube well supported by the Flyers forwards who looked menacing. With Australia dominating the first period they head to the break 2-0.
Shot count: 20 Australia- 0 Chinese Taipei
Period 2 continued in similar fashion with the Junior Flyers relentless in both attack and defence. Millie Grigalunias and Tara Baker both had opportunities, but the Chinese Taipei goaltender was hard to pass with her glove work. The opposition stepped up their tempo mid-way through the stanza forcing Aussie tender Amelia Knott into the action, but she was well up to the task. Chinese Taipei broke through at the 8-minute mark to slot their first to make it 2-1. Katrina Rapchuk went ‘coast to coast’ to challenge the opposition defence as did Cryan, Watts and Johanna Meissner peppering the net but just landing shots high and wide. Chinese Taipei challenged the Aussie defence for most of the period creating some strong chances. With another power play late in the period, Australia did their best to cash in but just couldn’t find a way through. Back to full strength for the final 2 minutes, both teams battled hard to slot one more before the break with Justine Kruhlak in the thick of things and Amelia Knott called upon to save the day on multiple occasions.
Shots count: Australia 32 – Chinese Taipei 10.
Score: Australia 2 – Chinese Taipei 1
It was Chinese Taipei who entered the third with high energy against a calm and composed Aussie outfit. After a break for injury, it was the opposition who scored off a rebound to set the Junior Flyers a task to regain supremacy. Lily Roberts lifted the tempo for the Aussies with a run at net only to be thwarted by some outstanding goaltending by the opposition tender. With Sophie Reader in penalty trouble at the 6-minute mark, the Flyers had to survive the 4 on 5 attack. One minute into the penalty kill the headcount returned to a 4 on 4 with Chinese Taipei pinged for too many players on the ice. Despite some hardnosed defending, Gabby Arps found herself in the box to hand the numerical advantage to the opposition. The Flyers kept the opposition defence occupied with 40 shots on goal with 6 minutes to go when Elana Holub smoked one past the net a fraction high. The Aussies kept their attack on net strong but the Chinese Taipei defence was up to every task. With 2 minutes to go Lily Roberts was sent to the box amidst controversy and the Flyers had to hold out one short. With 90 seconds on the clock they nailed one past the shorthanded Aussie defence and the opposition went one ahead.
Total shots on goal: Australia 47 – Chinese Taipei 18
Score: Chinese Taipei 3 – Australia 2
The result means the Junior Flyers secured 4th position and a return to Division IB in 2025. The historic win against Korea was enough to go ahead and produce a fine result under head coach Remi Harvey, with a youthful and exciting team fully of energy that will be brimming with confidence in 2025.
The U18 Women’s team completed Game 2 in Jaca, Spain, playing the gritty and skilled host nation in front of a loud and boisterous home crowd. The team displayed renewed focus and determination that has become a signature core value for all Australian National Teams.
In a hostile environment with a sizable vocal home crowd, the Junior Flyers rebounded strongly from their Game 1 loss to turn on a blistering opening to take it right up to the hosts from the first whistle. Both teams traded blows and hit the deck in a bruising opening 10 minutes featuring some quality attacks on goal by both teams, with Aussie net minder Amelia Knott solid as a rock saving a barrage of Spanish cracks on target. The Spaniards earned three trips to the penalty box giving the Junior Flyers the power play advantages which saw Hannah Cryan and Lucy York sweep down the wings at pace creating scoring opportunities. With 6 mins to go, Lily Roberts was sent to the box and the Flyers battled hard against the numbers, but Spain finally nailed one into the top corner to take the lead 1-0. A very entertaining first period had the gutsy Junior Flyers taking no backward steps with Elana Holub leading from the front getting many chances and Katrina Rapchuk rushing the puck up from defense. Shots on goal: Spain 11 – Australia 2. Score Spain 1 – Australia 0.
Georgia Watts was in the thick of the action early in the goal mouth. Despite close attention by the hard checking Flyers at 16:45, Spain slotted a beauty past the Aussie defence to stretch the lead to 2-0 then followed with another less than a minute later. Liv Gargano entered the game to split duties with Amelia Knott and looked solid going straight into a penalty kill set up. Tash Dube broke free to take a great drive down the ice and quality cross to Tara Baker whose one touch finish went just shy of net. Elana Holub found herself clear in the corner seconds later and followed with a big crack at goal just thwarted by the resolute Spanish defence. With 8:15 to go, Spain slotted another in between some quality Gargano saves. With 6:30 to go, Georgia Watts broke clear and looked set to shoot but was shut down by an outstanding Spanish diving defender. Spain stretched a battling but tiring Aussie outfit scored again with 4:48 to go. At the 3 min to go mark, the Aussies fired a series of rockets that went just wide of goal. Spain were the dominant team for the period going to the break. Shotes on goal: Spain 33 – Australia 10. Score: Spain 5 – Australia0.
The third period returned to an arm wrestle with the Junior Flyers turning the heat up on defence to hold out the Spaniards for the first 11 minutes of the stanza with starting goaltender Knott returning to net minding duties in fine form. Spain found the back of the net eventually with 8:30 on the clock to take their tally to 6. A cracker from range and angle followed soon after to add another to the host’s ledger. A deflection off a Spanish stick saw their 8th goal recorded, and a ninth with 16 seconds remaining.
Final score: Spain 9 – Australia 0. Shots on goal: Spain 46 – Australia 19.
Gabby Arps who was impressive and consistent across all three periods took the MVP honours for the Junior Flyers.
NEXT UP: Australia have a rest day before taking on Korea in Game 3, 4.30pm (local time) 11th January. IIHF – Live Streaming
The U18 Women kicked off their 2024 World Championship campaign in Jaca, Spain, against Norway, 8th January. After winning the gold medal in 2023 in Division II Group A, the team were promoted to Division I Group B, coming up against Poland, Spain, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Norway.
After a blistering start from the Junior Flyers where they took it right to tournament favourites, Team Norway, the highly fancied opposition showed their class and polish to put 5 goals past the Australian defence at the end of the first period break. Captain Lucy York took some big checks and Amelia Knott was gallant in net, turning away several more quality Norwegian shots as the Aussie defence scrambled to hold position and seal the gaps. Shots on goal: Norway 11 – Australia 5. Score Norway 5 – Australia 0.
The Australian’s hit the ice with renewed enthusiasm to tightened up their defensive and reduce the goals against to 3. Gabby Arps and the D-line showed great courage diving on the ice to block shots, with Coach Remi Harvey switching first year goaltender Liv Gargano in halfway the through the period to face the music. Gargano impressed in her first minutes holding out the Norwegian attack through to the second period break. The tough Norwegian defence made it difficult for the Junior Flyers to create offensive chances, however, the team dumped the puck and forechecked hard. Shots on goal: Norway 18 – Australia 1. Score Norway 8 -Australia 0
The third period was a rough ride for the Junior Flyers with Norway really showing their class to outshoot Australia 52-8 for the game with final score Norway 15 – Australia 0. Tash Dube was impressive in her first game of the campaign by taking honours for Australia’s MVP.
NEXT UP: Australia now take on Spain in Game 2, 8pm (local time) 9 January. Check local times zones and the link to the livestream IIHF – Live Streaming.
The Australian hockey community is saddened by the recent passing of IHA Life Member Kevin Brown.
Kevin began playing hockey in 1964 on the small rink at Hindley Street, Adelaide. He quickly emerged as skilled player and exceptional stick handler, which saw him become the league’s highest scorer in four seasons and helped him win the Walker Trophy as league MVP three times.
In 1980, Kevin helped found the Payneham Flyers in the National Ice Hockey League and was both player, coach, and GM with the team.
Kevin made a significant contribution to South Australia state hockey. He won three Goodall Cups (1990, ’91, ’95) as manager of the state team, and served in several roles in the South Australian State Association including Treasurer, Secretary, Referee-in-chief and President. Kevin was also driving force and first president of the Adelaide Vintage Reds.
At the national level, Kevin was General Manager of the Australian National Senior Team in 2007 and 2010, in both instances winning Silver. He was Team Leader in 2011 and saw the team win gold and promotion to Division I. Additionally, Kevin was Team Leader three more times 2012 to 2014, for a total of six senior World Championships in two divisions.
Kevin was appointed Treasurer of Ice Hockey Australia in the late-70s, and again between 2005-2012 where he was instrumental in securing the funding for national teams. He was elected national President in 2012 before retiring in 2015.
He was also president for 10 years of the Old-timers ice Hockey Association Network (OiHAN), during which time it became a full member of the IHA.
Kevin was a Life Member of both State and National Associations.
On the sad passing of Kevin Brown – Life Member, Ice Hockey Australia wish to acknowledge Kevin’s outstanding contribution to the sport and pass condolences to his family and loved ones. ‘We are deeply saddened to hear about Kevin’s passing. Kevin was Treasurer when I personally first joined IHA and I will never forget the tremendous support, guidance and mentorship he provided to me. His dedication to the ice hockey at every level, and in so many different capacities, helped build the foundation for our sport to the benefit of all. He was also an outstanding person. I am personally thankful that I was able to work with and know him and extend my condolences to his family. He was truly a hockey legend.’ Kevin served as President and Treasurer over the years and we thank our revered Life Member for his dedication to the sport.
Ryan O’Handley, President Ice Hockey Australia.
Ice Hockey Australia is pleased to announce a partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF). This exciting partnership will initially support Australian National Teams, before identifying important and critical areas for the game locally.
In collaboration with the ASF, Ice Hockey Australia is aiming to ease the cost burden on players and families to compete on an international stage. Annually, IHA sends five teams across different age groups and genders, including U18 men and women, U20 men, and senior men and women teams. Australian teams perform well on the international stage, with the U20 men winning gold in Division III, and U18 women claiming gold in Division II to be promoted to Division I in 2024. Moving forward, areas to identify include grassroots, national championships, and equipment, to support the anticipated growth generated by a larger participation base.
“We’re delighted to partner with Ice Hockey Australia to help raise much needed funds to support their Under 18s women and Under 20s men’s sides to compete at the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2024”- Ben Durance, Sports Fundraising Manager, Australian Sports Foundation.
“Ice hockey is a sleeping giant of Australian sports. We saw in the recent NHL Global Series in September in Melbourne, the attention the two-game series attracted was huge. The excitement from the NHL has increased our enquires and with this we expect an increase to participation numbers”. Adam Woolnough, General Manager, Ice Hockey Australia said. “We are delighted to partner with ASF to bring their 30 years of expertise to the table to support and enable our national teams travel internationally, before working on other key projects”.
To support the U18 Women and U20 Men ‘World Championship’ campaigns in January 2024, please see links to relevant donation pages.
U18 Women World Championships 2024 | Australian Sports Foundation (asf.org.au)
U20 Men’s World Championships 2024 | Australian Sports Foundation (asf.org.au)
For more information on the Australian Sports Foundation, please visit Australian Sports Foundation | Australian Sports Foundation (asf.org.au)