It’s official. The Moscow Region Tornado women’s hockey team is the European Cup Champion!
Last Wednesday we flew to Bad Tolz Germany for the second and final round of the Euro Cup where we would face three very strong opponents from Sweden, Finland, and Germany. Our first game was against the Swedish team, who proved to be very physical and tough to play against. It was one of the longest hockey games I’ve ever been a part of because there were so many stoppages and penalties called. Our team was really banged up after the game but we came out with a hard fought, well deserved 6-1 win.
The next day we faced off against the Finnish team, knowing that if we won this game, we put ourselves in a very good position to be the champions. After two scoreless and very stressful periods, during which our goalie, Zuzana Tomchikova, bailed us out multiple times, we finally broke through in the third period and scored two quick goals. After Finland pulled their goalie, they scored with about a minute and a half left in the game, to cut our lead in half. Again, our goalie made some outstanding saves in the last minute of the game, and we scored an empty netter with about half a minute left to play, solidifying the win for us. Zuza was named the best player of the game for our team, which was extremely well deserved.
The way the other games unfolded, we knew that we had won the championship later that night, but would still have to play against the German team the next day. It was hard to motivate ourselves going into this game knowing that we had already won, but we knew that we wanted to finish out the weekend with a win, not a loss. We ended up beating Germany 4-0 and it made winning the championship that much better. We celebrated on the ice, took pictures with our families, and just enjoyed the moment with one another. I was incredibly proud of the way my team played throughout the weekend. We hadn’t been used to playing a lot of close games but I think especially against the Finnish team, we battled hard and we never gave up.
It was hard saying good bye to my teammates knowing that we would all never be on the same team again probably. Even if I couldn’t communicate with all of my teammates verbally, we had still formed such a bond throughout the season and it was hard knowing I wouldn’t see them every day. However, it is nice to know that I have friends across the world and can visit anytime I want to. Our story book ending at the Euro Cup was the perfect way to cap off a great season and an amazing experience playing hockey 5,000 miles away from home. I can’t thank the Tornado organization enough for everything they have done for me in the last 8 months. I truly enjoyed my time in Russia and competing at such a high level in my sport. Coming home with another gold medal didn’t hurt either.