The New Zealand Women’s Under 18 ice hockey team finished top of the table, securing a gold medal at their International Ice Hockey Federation Division II B world championship event in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The team won four out of five of their tournament games and will now be promoted to division II A.
Tied at a provisional first equal heading in to their final game, the Kiwis needed to win against Bulgaria to guarantee a first place result.
The host nation wouldn’t make it easy for New Zealand, with both teams scoring back and forth throughout the game. Tied 2-2 at the beginning of the third period, New Zealand #15 Eden Greaves scored on the powerplay, giving New Zealand a 3-2 lead with four and a half minutes remaining. Bulgaria however were still in the fight, scoring just two minutes later, leaving the championship deciding game at 3-3 with just two and a half minutes left.
With just under two minutes remaining, the New Zealand team decided to pull their goalie, giving them an extra player advantage on the ice – an advantage that immediately paid off, with the team scoring just a few seconds later thanks to #4 Jess Ryall, now leading the game 4-3. With goaltender #1 Zadia Paulse now back in the crease, New Zealand defended against Bulgaria’s final challenges, maintaining the 4:3 lead and winning the game.