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.