Women's hockey is a fairly civilized version of the sport where speed and skill triumphs most often. Today, however, the Russians and Czechs decided to throw back to some old-time hockey as they renewed their rivalry. What makes this interesting is that women's hockey rarely ever has fisticuffs in it due to the nature of the game, and these fisticuffs came in an IIHF-sanctioned event where fighting is entirely outlawed and severely punished!
Without further adieu, let's go to the video. We'll pick this game up late in the third period with the Russians leading 2-0 and the Czechs pressing as they looked to extend their tournament.
Wow. I had to look up the rosters, but watching Russian captain Nina Pirogova sit on top of Natalie Mlynkova behind the net and rain blows upon her was a little over the top for my taste. In looking at the boxscore, though, it seems that the Czech's #14 was tossed from this game. I went back and looked at the video again, and I didn't even see Eliska Vozdecka on the ice. How did she get a five-minute major for roughing and a game misconduct?
Four Czechs were penalized and four Russians were penalized for the line brawl. All those penalties cancelled one another out, so there was no power-play granted despite the very clear pummeling administered by Pirogova. How does this happen? I'm quite certain the IIHF will not only be reviewing this game on its day off tomorrow, but will probably be speaking with the officials in light of these events. I wouldn't be surprised if the officiating team in this game is broken up for the remainder of the tournament.
Fighting in women's hockey at an IIHF-sanctioned international event simply doesn't happen. Players never want to be suspended for chucking knuckles at a world championship tournament, so this is indeed one of the rarest sights one will see in hockey. In the end, Russia will play the Americans after holding onto their 2-0 victory, so we'll have to see if they bring that same fighting spirit to the semifinal game on Friday!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!