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SHL and SDHL: Coronavirus chaos continues in Swedish and world hockey

The Coronavirus looks set to claim another victim- the postseason in men’s and women’s hockey here in Sweden.

The SHL

In the SHL the regular season just about survived with the last matches of the season being played in empty arenas Thursday.

Last year’s two top teams in the regular season were again first and second. But this time instead of Färjestad BK winning on goal difference, it is Luleå HF who won the regular season by a convincing 14 points.

The majority of European leagues have cancelled third playoffs and allowed the top of the table team at the end of the playable season to be declared as champions without further matches. That includes Sweden’s neighbours, Norway and Finland as well as continental Germany, Austria and Poland.

Whilst initially just suspending the playoffs, a request has now been made to cancel the playoffs entirely with a decision being expected on Sunday. There seems no obvious reason for the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation to not follow other countries and cancel the postseason meaning Luleå could be declared champions today.

The SDHL

The same scenario faces the women’s league, the SDHL, even though the quarterfinals and semis have already taken place as the league is smaller than the SHL. One of the best of five final matches did get played on Wednesday Luleå / MSSK lost at home to HV71, 2-3. Luleå are the reigning championship but it is HV71 (pictured) who won the regular season and are poised to become 2019/20 champions.

Initially the SDHL planned to shorten the final to a best of three series due to be completed in Jönköping this weekend.

However, sickness to players and the increased threat of the virus means the women have also requested an premature end to the season. That being the case HV71 will be declared champions for the first time in their history today.


So, for the Norrbotten club the premature end to the season will at least secure one national trophy.

International women’s tournaments and Damkronorna

The Coronavirus threat does not only mean the end of the domestic season in Sweden, but also an end for the international season with both the A and B World Championships in Canada and France respectively being cancelled.

For Sweden’s women’s team, Damkronorna, this has particularly tough consequences. For the first time ever in 2019/20 the country found itself in the embarrassing situation of being in the B category World Cup having been demoted last year. The cancellation of the competition means they will have to wait another year before they can make amends for their mistakes.

However, one person who will not be there next year is manager, Ylva Martinsen who has been sacked. She has expressed extreme disappointment at the decision but the Federation do not see any reason to renew her two contract when it expires later this year after a string of poor results. She has been replaced Ulf Lundberg who managed Södertälje until he was fired earlier this year.

But the unexpected turn of events may also mean that one of Sweden’s Assistant Captain and Brynäs IF captain, Erika Grahm may also not be present next year to help her country return to the top division. As yet undecided, the 29 year old has said the cancellation of the World Championship has made her call into question her international career and she would not be drawn on whether this also meant an end to her club career.

Men’s World Championships

Whilst the women’s World Championships is off, the men’s tournament, which is due to be held in Switzerland in May, is currently scheduled to take place. Of special interest to A Brit On Thin Ice is the meeting of Sweden and Great Britain to take pace on 23 May in Lausanne.

North American leagues

The USA has also gone into lockdown so that both the NHL and AHL have been suspended until further notice. How they might resolve who is the winner if playoffs do not take place remains unclear.

So stay on the look out as the Coronavirus continues its dramatic spread throughout the sports world, proving to be the year’s greatest game changer, even if it is it unlikely to receive an MVP.

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SDHL: INTERVIEW - Julie Zwarthoed (SDE) - We can beat Sweden

Dutch international forward, Julie Zwarthoed, has just finished her fifth season with Stockholm’s SDE Hockey in the SDHL. And for the first time the 25-year-old and her teammates have been able to participate in the playoffs rather than the qualifying matches against Division 1 rivals.

This year SDE won more games than the previous three seasons put together. And the Dutch assistant captain puts this success down to the positive team mentality that has developed over the years, “I believe SDE has a strong family feeling, a big thanks to Helene Åström our team manager, she brings everyone in with so much love and joy. We struggled a lot of seasons, but I think due to the struggle no one ever gives up. Due to this strong family bonding, I think we perform really well because we don´t give up on each other”.

Zwarthoed was again the team’s top points scorer this year with 26 points placing her in 25th on Total Points. 2019/20 saw her net 15 times, her highest goal scoring season in her career. She was just ahead of SDE and Dutch international teammate, Savine Wielenga.

“This season was great but I wouldn´t be able to score the goals without the girls that give me the passes. So, a big thank you to them,” she says modestly.

And the combination of winning games and a thriving team environment has given the 25-year-old a much-needed boost, “I had a lot of fun this season and got a lot of joy from hockey again since we were winning games. I think that having fun in hockey has helped me a lot,” she says, reflecting on the demanding work-life balance of a pro-women’s player.

With the regular season out of the way, Zwarthoed can now look forward to the World Championships in France. Last year she was part of the Netherlands team who won D1B World Championship Gold, a career highlight for the SDE forward.

Their opening match on 12 April is against none other than Sweden, who were demoted from the top tier in 2019, “The World Championships are like play offs - a lot can happen. We can beat Sweden - but that will have to be our best game ever!”, she says fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

However, she still thinks Sweden are favourites to return to the top, “If you see that a lot a great players play in the SDHL, it would be weird that Sweden as a country won´t be able to play in the top division”, she says reflecting on club level experience.

The 25-year-old Dutchwoman moved to Sweden partly because she could only play in men’s division in her home country. And there’s no doubt that for SDE Hockey and Julie Zwarthoed herself, it was a wise move as she and the club have grown together.

SDE finished sixth this year and were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. But if they continue to improve the way they did in 2019/20, do not be surprised if they finish in the top half of the table next year.

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SDHL: Final will be between Luleå and HV71

The top two teams in the regular season will meet in the SDHL Final which is due to start on 11 March as HV71 travel to meet Luleå/MSSK. Both teams won their respective semi final series 3-0 with a Match 3 victory this Sunday.

Luleå/MSSK v Brynäs IF

Despite Brynäs IF having the top scorer in the regular season, Lara Stalder, in their team it was Luleå who won their first two games by a single goal, 3-4 and then 3-2, with the Swiss forward picking up 3 points (1G+2A).

It was Luleå's Swiss signing who has just coming in for the playoffs, Phoebe Staenz who would shine for the reigning champions. She picked up four goals in the three games, including the go ahead goal in Game 3 at the end of the second period to give the home team a 3-2 lead. Visiting Brynäs would never recover and eventually go down 6-2 in the last game of the series.

Luleå's Finnish internationals ruthlessly destroyed Brynäs' attempt at an upset. Petra Nieminen scored 3 goals, and Michelle Karvinen assisted on all of them and scored one of her own to come away with 4 points in the final match of the series.

It marks the third year in a row that Stalder has been knocked out of the competition by Luleå, having lost the SDHL final to them two years in a row with Linköping HC before her move to Brynäs last summer.

HV71 v Djurgården IF

HV71 have been dominant all season and were in no mood for charity as they beat the Djurgården IF 10-3 in the first two matches. Michelle Lowenhielm (pictured) was one of the architects with 2G+2A combined across the two games.

In Game 3 at home the Jönköping club again made use of their post-season signing between the pipes, Canadian Shea Tiley. Not content with having the league's best keeper in Spaniard, Alba Gonzalo, the team are putting nothing to chance signing the out of work former Toronto Furies keeper for the playoffs. Tiley who has also won the NCAA championship two years in a row in a team that contained Gothenburg HC's Emma Keenan

The final game of the series was a tighter affair, as Djurgården fought for their lives coming back from 3-0 down to be only 3-2 down with 7 minutes to go in the tie when Canadian, Sarah Bujold netted for the visitors.

But it was not enough and Jönköping club cruised through to the final for the first time since 2016/7.

They are determined to not repeat the defeat from that year, and the question remains, can Luleå/ MSSK actually beat this incredibly talent HV71?

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SDHL: MODO Hockey and Gothenburg HC win qualification playoffs

MODO Hockey v Skellefteå AIK

A year ago MODO Hockey were second in the league and went out in the playoffs in the semifinals to Linköping HC. But this year they were second from bottom meaning that the only playoff hockey they were involved with was the best of three qualification series with Division 1's Skellefteå AIK.

The clubs would be considered local rivals, both based in the northern part of Sweden. But the Division 1 club were never in with a chance with the difference between the two leagues again being underlined. Skellefteå is a young team with just two import players from Slovakia. MODO on the other hand have the Czech national goalkeeper, Klara Peslarova, French team captain and former Toronto Furies player, Marion Allemoz (pictured) and well as Swedish internationals, Olivia Carlsson and Mina Waxin on their squad.

And it was assistant captain Allemoz that opened up the scoring for MODO in the first away match in Skellefteå on Wednesday. Peslarova gained a shutout and Waxin finished off their rivals in a 0-4 victory.

In the second game in Örnsköldsvik, Allemoz again opened the scoring for MODO. The visitors were taken apart in a second period, which the home team won 4-0 and wound up taking the game 7-0 and with that the series.

That means MODO Hockey will again being playing in the top flight, the SDHL, in 2020/21.

The team's top scorer in the regular season, Allemoz, finished with 4 points (1G+1A in both matches), the same score as international teammate, Lore Baudrit (1G+3A). But it was American import Gracen Hirshey who topped the team in this series with 5 points (3G+2A).

The team has struggled this year without top players, Michela Cava (now at Brynäs IF) and Kaitlyn Tougas (HV71) and will need to bring in a number of stronger signings to avoid being in the bottom half of the table next year too.


Gothenburg HC v Malmö Redhawks

This is the third year in a row Gothenburg HC have been involved in the SDHL qualification matches. However, despite that experience they decided to take the long route, needing all three games to defeat the spirited opposition in the form of Malmö Redhawks, whose team reflects the city's closeness to Denmark. They have four Danish internationals, including the country's netminder, Lisa Sellberg Jensen, who were in the team who won the Division 1A World Championships last year, replacing Sweden in the top division of Swedish women's hockey for 2020.

Nearly 500 people turned out to see the Redhawks at home on Wednesday. But at just 3:26 in the first period they saw their team go behind 0-1 to a goal by Gothenburg's 17 year old Swede, Elin Svensson. But a goal by Malmö's top scorer, and Danish international, Marlene Frandsen brought the scores level, until Svensson struck again with 12:12 left in the third to seal an 1-2 away win for Gothenburg.

That gave the SDHL team two home matches to beat the team from Skåne. But if anyone thought that Malmö would just lie down, they were sorely mistaken. When Frandsen scored again at the beginning of the third period during Saturday's match in Gothenburg, it was the third goal unanswered goal in a row from the visitors as they took a commanding 1-3 lead. When former Danish international, Julie Jensen, netted the empty net goal, it sealed a famous 2-4 victory for Malmö and set up a winner-takes-all decider in Gothenburg on Sunday.

With tension in the air, Gothenburg played most of the first 8 minutes of the match with someone in the box, including a bust up between the home team's Canadian defender, Celine Tardif and the visitors' Swedish forward, Amanda Andersson, which saw them both serve a 2 minute minor for Roughing.

However, it was the 17 year old Svensson who was first to find the net again and with that the Gothenburg team began to take over the game. It was two North American defenders on the team who found the back of the net - first Canadian import, Samantha Fieseler and then American/ Canadian Emma Keenan who stretch the lead to 3-0 for the home team with 12:37 to go in the final period. That, plus a later goal from another 17 year Sweden on the west coast team, Hanna Thuvik, and the result was clear.

Gothenburg HC win the series 2-1 and remain in the top division with MODO Hockey for the 2020/21 season.

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SDHL: INTERVIEW - Emma Keenan (GHC) - we need to play our best hockey

Emma Keenan is one of a series of new import players who has joined the SDHL in the 2019/20 season after graduating from the NCAA.

Now 22 years old, the defender has an amazing time at Clarkson University, winning back to back championships in the fiercely competitive college league in a team which included Canadian forward, Amanda Titus who was at SDE Hockey last year.

“It was an unbelievable experience. There’s no better feeling than winning alongside your teammates after all the hard work we put in”, she says.

But she also puts the victories down to buying into the team plan, “our focus was on defence first hockey. We knew good offence could come if we always played defensively minded. Everyone bought into that style of hockey as well as the process and we were able to find success,” she explains.

As college came to an end, Keenan felt that opportunities for professional hockey in North America were limited, so she looked over the Atlantic to continue her career, as well as widening her life experience.

“I’m extremely grateful that hockey gave me the chance to live in Sweden and Europe. There’s a lot of talented players in the SDHL and I was excited for the opportunity to keep developing my game”.

She came to Gothenburg HC fully aware of the challenges, “the club is relatively new, I was excited to contribute to the developing program as much as I could. And I also got to play with my former high school teammate, the Canadian, Celine Tardif”, she adds.

The change in league and style of play has allowed the American born, Canadian to develop the offensive part of her game. In the two Gold medal winning seasons at Clarkson she scored just 11 points, all assists, in 76 games.

By contrast, in the regular season at Gothenburg HC she has nearly 0.50 PPG, including 9 goals, making her the team’s joint top scorer alongside English forward, Louisa Tippart Durnell and young Swede, Hanna Thuvik.

But Keenan’s personal success does not overshadow the needs of the team, “Obviously, right now our main focus is on winning the qualifications [to remain in the SDHL]”, she says.

“We need to play our best hockey as a team,” she says taking her experience from the NCAA and applying it here in Sweden. “We are best when we’re moving our feet and playing with confidence, so it is important we bring that energy.” And she adds, “it’s vital that we bring that desperation and discipline it takes to win a three-game series”.

Whilst only 22, Keenan is one of the most decorated players in the team, and you can expect her to be commanding the blue line in the qualifications.

It is the third year in a row Gothenburg HC have been in this position, that is, every year they been in the SDHL.

It was a bit of a shaky start, but they got the vital first match away victory win against Malmö Redhawks last night, coming away with a 1-2 win.

And you can be certain that Keenan and the rest of the club have every intention of taking victory on home ice this weekend and securing another year in the top flight.

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SDHL: INTERVIEW: Anna Borgfeldt (GHC) - my most enjoyable season

When she came back from the United States aged 22 years old, Anna Borgfeldt thought her hockey career was over.

Three years later, when work took her to Sweden’s second city, she could not help but look up the local club, Gothenburg HC. “I missed being part of a team,” she says, “and I’ve been “stuck” in Angered ever since!” she says with a smile.

Now 26 years old she is playing in her fourth year at the club, three in the top division, the SDHL, where she has also been captain for the west coast team.

The club have had a rough ride in an increasingly competitive SDHL, surviving through winning the qualification to the SDHL against Division 1 teams each year. But Borgfeldt herself has seen year on year improvements and continues to be one of the team’s top scorers.

“This has been the most enjoyable season we have had so far as a team, considering the amount of close games we have played,” the forward says about the club’s performance. It has definitely been one of the best in the club’s SDHL history, even if the final result has not always gone their way.

“Personally, I have believed more in my ability as a player and have had great company around me which has made me a better player on the ice,” she reflects, pointing to how a team can made the individual shine.

She as played for Linköping HC and for Sweden’s international team before her first “retirement” from the sport.

And in 2010 she got to play in the U18 World Championships in Chicago, USA with a team that included Lisa Johansson (AIK) and Michelle Löwenhielm (HV71). She and the team picked up an impressive Bronze medal, whilst a USA team that contained Zoe Hickel (Linköping HC) collected Silver.

Borgfeldt enjoyed her time playing with Quinnipiac in the NCAA, but says she prefers the “broader range of freedom and opportunity for creativity in Sweden”.

The increased number of North Americans in the SDHL over the last few years has meant that she has had the opportunity to play against some of her teammates from college days, like Emma Woods, now at rivals’ Leksand IF, “It was a lot of fun to see Woodsy again, brings back a lot of college memories”.

And whilst some people are critical to the amount of import players in Sweden, I’m in agreement with the former Bronze medallist’s assessment, “It would be fun if more transatlantic players would come to Europe to play once graduated from College”.

Players like Borgfeldt and her Gothenburg teammates play an important part in the SDHL. Many of the best players in the Swedish league, whether Swedish or imports, have learnt their trade in the American college system and then come to Europe to play. A mix of home grown players and imports is the way forward for the women’s game – a formula that has prove successful in the men’s game in Sweden and, of course, in the NHL itself.

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SDHL: Interview Hanna Thuvik (GHC) - the results can be seen on the ice

Hanna Thuvik is only 17 years old, but is already in her second full season at senior level in the SDHL with Gothenburg HC. Not only that, but this year she is the team’s top scoring Swede with the same points as imports Louisa Durnell and Emma Keenan, all with 17 points (9G+8A).

Whilst majoring on the SDHL, she has also played a few games with Division 1, Trollhättans HC. So, I ask Thuvik what’s the difference between the top two leagues, “it’s the speed”, she says analytically, “both in the skating and puck tempo”.

It will come as no surprise that she has represented her country at the recent U18 World Championships in Japan in January. Sweden came in fifth, but for Thuvik it was about the whole experience, “it was lots of fun,” she says with a smile, “it is great to play against the best in the world in your age group and measure yourself against them”. She rightly has a long-term goal to get a place in the senior team.

Back in Gothenburg HC, I get her to reflect on her development as a player this season, “personally, I think this season has gone quite well for me. I have developed my skating and been much stronger on the puck. And of course, my points production has increased, which was one of my main goals this year”.

What has made the difference?

“I think I’ve have been given more responsibility by our coach, which has meant I have a better self-confidence and that can be seen in the results on the ice,” she says, showing how important the mental part of the game is, as well as technical ability. “One key area”, she adds,” is that I have been more aggressive in attacking the net”.

The club have one final challenge left this season as they go into the qualification for the SDHL against the Malmö Redhawks after coming last in the top division. The young Swede was part of the Gothenburg HC team that won the equivalent series last year. But few would doubt their ability to hold on in the SDHL where the club has their best season so far and where Thuvik would love one day win the Swedish Championships.

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SDHL: top four teams to appear in the semi-finals

The top four teams in the regular season all made it through to the semi-finals today after winning their respective series 2-0.

HV71, Luleå/ MSSK, Brynäs IF and Djurgården IF all won Wednesday's match 1 which was played away from home for the top four teams in the league. And all four teams won their matches today on home ice convincingly, except for the Stockholm team who needed 101 minutes to breakdown local rivals, AIK. It means that no-one needs a third decided match which would have been played tomorrow (Sunday).

Now they will all have four days rest until HV71 meet Djurgården at Hovet, whilst current champions Luleå travel to Gävle to face Brynäs IF in what should be four, or more likely six, of the best matches of the 2019/20 season.

The difference in teams 1-4 and teams 5-8 can be seen in the total scores from the eight matches that have been played this week:

HV71 16 - 2 Leksand IF

Luleå/ MSSK 12 - 1 Linköping HC

Brynäs IF 12 - 3 SDE

Djurgården IF 8 - 3 AIK

But don't expect anything like these figures in the remaining matches of the playoff where the very best in the SDHL meet head-to-head.

Top scorer at the moment is Sanni Hakala from HV71 with 8 pts (4G+4A) and Brynäs IF's Czech international, Katerina Mrazova with 7 pts (2G+5A).

Mrazova was the 16th highest scorer in the CWHL last year. Despite the fact that six players from Calgary Inferno, who won the now defunct league, are playing in the SDHL this year, none of them are now left in the Swedish playoffs.

Whilst HV71 remain favourites after their convincing regular season display, anything could happen in the coming matches in what will be one of the most tightly contested SDHL playoffs for several years.

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SDHL: INTERVIEW Ronja Savolainen (LHF) - just never give up

Finnish international back, Ronja Savolainen is in her fourth season at Luleå/ MSSK. She has two Swedish championships, one Finnish championship, two World Championship bronzes and a silver from last year’s World Championship on her CV. It is hard to believe she is only 22 old. Oh, yes, I forgot to her personal career highlight, a Bronze medal in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

And whilst she could have easily got a place to play college hockey in the NCAA, she decided to stay put in Scandinavia, “I didn't want to move that far away from my family,” she says.

But she had also heard good things about Luleå from her Espoo Blues teammate, Noora Tulus. The Finnish international forward had played the end of the season with the Norrbotten club in 2015/6 and when Savolainen talked with manager Fredrik Glader she was hooked, “he told me what the organization is doing with the woman's team, how much they respect us and that its’ professional at Luleå,” and she adds, “I got curious and wanted to see if it was true”.

The club already had Finnish international and top scoring forward Michelle Karvinen in the squad. But Luleå’s Finnish contingent for the 2016/7 season did not just include Karvinen, Tulus and Savolainen, but also the Finnish captain and defender, Jenni Hiirikoski.

Sweden’s former assistant captain and now commentator, Maria Rooth, has called Hiirokoski the best back in the game today. And whilst few would doubt Savolainen’s own talent as a two-ways back, it is clear that she looks up to and has learnt much from her teammate.

I ask the 22-year-old what the best piece of advice she has received from her club and national captain, “that I just should keep going and keep dreaming. And that nothing would come for free”.

Savolainen has taken those words to heart and has shown that hard work pays with a remarkable increase in her scoring this season, with 41 points (20G+21A). That means that her and young compatriot Petra Nieminen now lead the scoring for the Luleå. The 22-year-old is the league’s second highest scoring back, finishes tenth in Total Points and was one point ahead of Hiirikoski.

But the younger protégé is not letting it go to her head, “we both like to have the puck and use our skating,” she says when comparing her playing style with the captain, “but she is so much better in the defensive zone than I am and I'm so jealous!” she adds with a laugh. “I tend to go after the puck in my own zone, but she keeps her player, which is much better,” she says analysing where she wants to improve her play.

After years of clear superiority, Luleå find themselves in the unusual position of being second, behind HV71, who have been the team to beat this year. Savolainen understands that the season did not start well for the Norrbotten club and losing manager Glader did not help.

I ask her how she thinks the team are going to advance in the playoffs, “I and the team need to play better in the D zone,” she says honestly, “and then use our skating, hard work and help each other,” she says listing her team’s top qualities.

Before we finish, I ask the Finn about the forthcoming World Championships in Canada where many are wondering if this can be the first time a European team breaks the North Americans stranglehold on the cup, “I think that we need to have the same good feeling in the team, just never give up and enjoy playing out there. We know we can beat them when we have a good day and play as a team,” she says with determined confidence.

No games in the SDHL playoffs or the World Championships are easy. But Savolainen, and her teammates at Luleå and for the White Lions, have the ability to win. Could this be the year which sees the 22-year-old wearing two Gold medals around her neck before this season is out?

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SDHL: INTERVIEW Klara Peslarova (MODO) - we trust in each other

At only 23 years old, Czech international goalkeeper, Klara Peslarova, has already played in three different countries and represented her country at five Senior World Championships. That said, her only medal was a Bronze at U18 World Championship in 2014, a standout moment in her career.

But despite having played in native country and Russia, it is the SDHL she likes the most, “I would say that Sweden has the best league for women’s hockey in Europe and it is really competitive”.

With experience at both international and club level, I ask her about what the difference between these two types of hockey is, “International games have a bit more intensity, and there are many players with a lot of experience in high pressure situations,” she says. But by comparison, “In the SDHL, the games are skilled, but there are a lot of young players who don’t yet have that experience”.

Now at the end of her second season at MODO Hockey, she also played for SDE Hockey for two years from 2015/6. In the time between her two stays in Sweden she played in a men’s league in the Czech Republic, but “after that year, I really missed Sweden so I decided to come back”, she says.

However, she did not come alone, but with three other Czech players who have all joined her in Örnsköldsvik. They are Daniela Pejsova, Agata Sanovska and Laura Lerchova, are all under 20 and played for their country together with Peslarova at the recent Euro Hockey Tour in Sweden.

And this year she has not only had compatriots as teammates, but also as opposition. That’s because Katerina Mrazova and Denisa Krizova now both play for Brynäs IF. They are two of the top scoring forwards in the SDHL this year and came to Sweden in the summer of 2019 having finished as 11thand 16th highest scorers in the NWHL last year.

However, it is MODO and Klara Peslarova who can take home the bragging rights when it comes to the rivalry between Czech players in the SDHL. Despite Brynäs IF’s stunning season, MODO have beaten them in three of their four meetings. Not only that, but the 23-year-old netminder has only let in three goals from her national teammates, showing that she is equal to them in talent.

The six Czech players in these two Swedish clubs will meet again and play together in the forthcoming World Championship in Canada in April. There they will have a great chance to qualify for the knockout phase from Group B which contains Germany, Japan, Denmark and Hungary.

Back in Sweden, MODO Hockey and their international netminder have had two very contrasting years. Last year, the Czech player was the SDHL’s top scoring import with a .925 SVS%. She would also have won this prize in her two years at SDE if it wasn’t for Swiss national keeper, Florence Schelling playing for Linköping HC at that time.

But this season has been tough and whereas they were second from the top of the table last year, the club have second from the bottom in 2020 and will go into the qualification matches against Division 1 teams.

“After last season we lost a lot of players that were big offensive threats for us,” she explains, “so scoring goals was a struggle for us this year.” But she knows that the club have got what it takes to remain in the SDHL, “I think we just need to continue to play as a team, trust in each other and have confidence”.

Peslarova has consistently shown her skill at both national and international level. And whilst MODO have not had a great season, the Czech international player’s talent, and age, means you will be seeing a lot more of her, hopefully in Sweden, but definitely on the World Championship stage and, maybe, in the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.

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