With six players in the final four teams, the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team was well represented Sunday at KVIK Hockey Arena in Denmark. In the end, five Bulldogs, including two currently on the 2022-23 Bulldogs roster, helped their national teams win gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2022 IIHF World Women’s Championship.
senior defender Ashton Bellalong with former All-American defenseman Jocelyne Larocque captured gold with Canada with a 2-1 win over the United States in the championship game, while current senior goaltender Blanka Skodova, with former Katerina Mrazova helped the Czech Republic beat Switzerland 4-2 for the bronze medal. While neither Bell nor Larocque landed in the scoring column on Sunday, the Bulldogs were all over the scoresheet in the bronze medal game. Mrazova had two assists, including on the Czech Republic’s fourth goal midway through the second period. Swiss skip Lara Stalder, no stranger to medal games, had an assist for Switzerland in the third period of medal skating.
In all, nine current and former Bulldogs players have skated in Denmark, including two other current players, senior goalkeeper Emma Soderberg and junior defender Nina Jobst Smith. Soderberg continued where she left off from the Olympics in February, once again brilliant for Sweden between the posts. Soderberg made 160 saves in five games, fifth in the entire tournament. Overall, Soderberg posted a .906 save percentage with a 2.97 goals-against average and made 54 saves on 59 shots against eventual winner Canada in the quarter-finals. Jobst-Smith had two assists in four games for the Germany team, and one of those assists came in Germany’s late-game 3-2 thriller in a triumph over Denmark August 30.
The Bulldogs had three players in the top 30 in assists, with Mrazova tied for fourth with eight in just seven skates. Larocque finished fifth with five to seven games, while Stalder netted three for the Swiss, the 29th-highest in the tournament. Overall, Mrazova ranked 11th with nine points (1g, 8a), while Lacoque was 23rd with one goal and five assists for six points.
Michelle Lowenhielm, one of Sweden’s captains (and one of three UMD players with Denmark letters on their jerseys), ended the tournament with a goal, while maddie rooney saw action in six games for the United States, including 15 saves against Finland in the preliminary round.