FÜSSEN, GERMANY – Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team is into the semifinals at the 2009 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship after completing preliminary round play on Wednesday. Canada finished first in Group B with a 3-0 record and will face Sweden in Friday’s semifinals.
Canada wrapped up preliminary round play with a 13-0 win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, QC/Dawson College, Collégial AA) finished with two goals and two assists, while Saige Pacholok (Edmonton, AB/Edmonton, WWHL) and Jessica Wong (Baddeck, NS/Stoney Creek, PWHL) had four assists each.
“We put forth a tremendous effort and we came out successful in our first three games,” said Canadian head coach Stephanie White. “We want to continue to use our team speed to our advantage as we strive to advance to the gold medal game.”
Also included in the preliminary round were wins against Switzerland (16-1) and Finland (6-0). Poulin and Wong both finished with nine points in the prelims, tying them for second in the tournament. Goaltender Roxanne Douville (Beloeil, QC/Edouard-Montpetit, Collégial AA) had the best goals against average of any goaltender with more than 100 minutes played (0.50), as well as the second-best save percentage (.938).
“It’s not every day you get to play for your country,” said alternate captain Laura Fortino, “so we make sure we improve every shift and so far it’s helped us get closer to our goal.”
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and 12 forwards. Eighteen of the 20 players were members of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for a three-game series against the United States in August in Lake Placid, NY, and all 20 participated in the 2008 National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Napanee, ON, including six members of Team Ontario Red, which captured its fifth consecutive gold medal.
The National Women’s Under-18 Team is a key component of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, which, along with the under-22 program, helps identify, evaluate and develop female hockey players for Canada’s National Women’s Team.
Canada claimed silver at the inaugural IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship in Calgary, AB in January 2008.