Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Canada smashes Sweden to open 4 Nations Cup

Marie-Philip Poulin (#29) checks Swede Hanna Olsson.
    The tune-up went as good as it could for Canada before the road gets tougher at the 4 Nations Cup.
    On Tuesday night at the SaskTel Centre, Canada’s senior national women’s hockey team opened play at the annual tourney with a 6-1 romp over Sweden, while holding a 52-18 edge in shots on goal. The Canadian side had too much depth for the Swedish side to handle.
    “I think we did play well,” said Canadian right-winger Melodie Daoust. “We do still have things to tighten up.
    “Especially in our D-zone, we just need to be more honest with ourselves and stay D-side a little bit more. I think that is going to come throughout the tournament as we go and learn to play together.
Melodie Daoust (#15) had two goals and an assist for Canada.
    “I think we did a very good job to start the tournament, but obviously, we still need to improve, and that is what Canada is all about. We need to improve every time we are on the ice.”
    Daoust had a pair of goals and an assist for Canada on Tuesday, while linemate Rebecca Johnston had four assists. Daoust netted an absolute beauty at the 6:37 mark of the third period.
    Working in the offensive zone, the Valleyfield, Que., product collected the puck behind Sweden’s net and quickly went backhand to forehand to net her second tally of the game into the open right side of the goal. That marker put Canada up 6-0.
    “I saw the little hole there,” said Daoust about her third-period goal. “I thought I was going to try it, and it worked. It was good.”
Canada celebrates a first period goal from Melodie Daoust.
    Canada methodically built a 3-0 lead in the first period. At the 8:56 mark of the opening frame, Canadian right-winger Laura Stacey banked home a beauty setup pass from defender Renata Fast on a two-on-one short-handed break to give Canada a 1-0 lead.
    Daoust netted her first of the game, and 18-year-old centre Sarah Fillier netted a single to give Canada a 3-0 edge heading into the first intermission. Canada head coach Perry Pearn said the Swedes did make things challenging for his side through the first 30 minutes.
    “We’ve watch Sweden practice, but we haven’t seen them play,” said Pearn. “We weren’t sure exactly what to expect from them.
    “Their first period, I think they impressed me with some of the things they did. They played a very good trap. It took us a little while to adjust to that, but I thought after a while, we handled the trap fairly well.
    “As we did that, we put more pressure on them in their end. I thought our third period was our best period, so I thought we adapted fairly well.”
    Pearn was pleased to get solid efforts from younger players like Fillier, 20-year-old defender Jaime Bourbonnais, 21-year-old winger Loren Gabel and 22-year-old centre Victoria Bach.
Rebecca Johnston had four assists for Canada.
    Due to the flu bug, Pearn said the Canadian side sent some players back to the hotel before Tuesday’s game started.  
    “The lineup went from having one extra forward dressed, having 13 forwards, to finishing off the game playing with 10,” said Pearn. “Certainly, the youngsters handled themselves well.”
    Canada’s lead expanded to 4-0 in the second period on a goal from Laura Fortino. Captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored at the 3:48 mark of the third to increase Canada’s edge to 5-0 and set the stage for Daoust’s second goal.
    Sweden finally broke through on the scoreboard with 3:09 to play in the third with a power-play goal from Emma Nordin, who tipped home a point shot from defender Emmy Alasalmi.
    Shannon Szabados turned away 17 shots to pick up the win in goal for Canada. Lovisa Selander turned away 46 shots taking the setback in goal for Sweden.
    Sweden returns to action on Wednesday, when they face Finland at 3 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.
    With the tournament opener out of the way, Canada turns its focus to the anticipated heavyweight match with the United States set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre. 
Sarah Filler, an 18-year-old centre, scored for Canada on Tuesday.
    That encounter will mark the first time Canada and the U.S. have faced each other since the States claimed a 3-2 victory after a tiebreaking shootout in the goal medal final at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, last February.
    Daoust said the Canadian side kept their focus on the opener against Sweden and tried not to get ahead of themselves in thinking about the U.S.
    “We try to stay in the present,” said Daoust. “We just finished our game, so obviously, we’re focusing on the U.S. now.
    “I think recovery tonight is going to be really important for us to play a big game tomorrow. We need to be ready. I think we have the group to play against them.”

Clark issues statement on missing 4 Nations Cup due to injury

Emily Clark seen at the SaskTel Centre last Thursday.
    Saskatoon product Emily Clark issued a statement through Hockey Canada on Tuesday night regarding her disappointment in not being able to participate in the 4 Nations Cup.
    The 22-year-old forward on Canada’s senior national women’s team injured her left leg while playing for the University of Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Her injury occurred in the opening minutes of a Badgers 4-2 home win on Oct. 13 against the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.
    “Although I am disappointed I am unable to play in the 4 Nations Cup, I am far more excited for my hometown and my teammates,” said Clark in the statement. “I could not be more proud to be from Saskatoon, and I’m thrilled that our journey to the 2022 Olympics is starting here.
    “I’ve told me teammates to expect great support from the fans, and I will be cheering along with the rest of Canada and following every step of the way.”
    Clark helped Canada win a silver medal at the Winter Olympics held last February in PyeongChang, South Korea. She is an alumna of the Saskatoon Stars female midget AAA hockey team.
    Before the 4 Nations Cup started, Clark made a public appearance at the home game of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades last Thursday. Last Saturday, she made a public appearance and was on hand for pre-game ceremonies as the Stars played their first Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season contest at Merlis Belsher Place.
    “Our focus and priority is Emily’s health, and in working with Emily and her team, we feel that it is in her best interest to return to school for treatment and to stay on top of her studies,” said Canada’s director for women’s national teams Gina Kingsbury in the statement. “We are disappointed she will not have the opportunity to play in her hometown, but we know she is excited for the experience that is in front of our team.
    “It is always special to put on the Team Canada jersey, play on Canadian soil, and we look forward to the tournament this week.”

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