Team Canada draws sold-out crowd to Fort Saskatchewan; edged 3-2 by Rangers
by Kristen Lipscombe
FORT SASKATCHEWAN, Alta. – The 1,200 fans that filled the Jubilee Recreation Centre got the action-packed game they came for Tuesday night, as the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers edged Canada's National Women's Team 3-2 in front of a thrilled sold-out crowd in Midget Series action.
Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta./Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, ACAC) took the crease for Team Canada, much to the delight of local hockey fans, who have followed the goaltender closely since she led Fort Saskatchewan's former Alberta Junior Hockey League team to its best-ever record in 2006-07, when she was also named the AJHL's top goaltender.
"I played a year of Junior A hockey here, and it was one of the best year's of my life," Szabados said following the game. "I had a great season, love the town, love the people ... I try to come back as often as I can."
Szabados stopped 30 shots over three periods in Tuesday night's game, making several stellar saves that had the rink buzzing from start to finish. That included stonewalling a second period breakaway which saw her sliding across the crease and getting her glove up just in time to deflect the puck away from the net with acrobatic-like precision.
But despite a fast pace that picked up with every period, in the end the game belonged to Fort Saskatchewan, with the Rangers both kicking off and capping off the scoring. Riley Wozniak cracked the scoreboard first while Canada was on the power play at 4:49 in the first, while Colman Herrick made it 2-0 at 18:32 to close out the period.
Canada came out strong in the second though, with the puck flying up and down the ice, and Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) scoring a beauty unassisted marker at 15:58, sending the red and white fans in the stands into excited cheers. Less than a minute later, Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./Cornell University, ECAC) accepted a pass from Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) and put another into the net for Canada to tie it up at 16:55 in the period.
That didn't deter Fort Saskatchewan, however, with Chad Hurtubise scoring the eventual game-winner with just over a minute remaining in the middle frame. And despite some solid chances on both sides of the ice throughout the third period, the score would remain 3-2 in favour of Fort Saskatchewan until the end of the full 60 minutes. It was clear fans left the rink satisfied with their local Team Canada experience.
"It's fun for our team to see what the city is about, and it was nice to pack the house tonight," Szabados said, adding tough competition against teams such as Fort Saskatchewan is not just fun, but is also "great preparation for Sochi."
Team Canada remains on the road for two more games this week, including Thursday, Nov. 21 against Lloydminster and Friday, Nov. 22 against Edmonton CAC, as part of an ongoing and intense schedule against Alberta Midget Hockey League teams in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Follow all the action this season at twitter.com/hc_women, www.facebook.com/hockeycanada and on Hockey Canada's official website at www.hockeycanada.ca/nwt.
*Game photo courtesy of Aaron Taylor.
|Game Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/Match no
|Arena/Aréna||Jubilee Recreation Centre||Location/Lieu||Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.|
|Date||Tuesday, November 19, 2013
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période|
04:49 FTS RileyWozniak SH/DN
18:32 FTS Colman Herrick (Tyler Krushen, Scott Ivey)
00:55 FTS Ryan Bott (Roughing/Rudesse)
03:29 FTS Jason Hamilton (High-sticking/Bâton élevé)
12:28 CAN Gillian Apps (Hooking/Accrocher)
14:53 CAN Bench/Banc (Too Many Players/Trop de joueuses)
19:43 CAN Lauriane Rougeau (Hooking/Accrocher)
|Second Period/Deuxième période|
15:58 CAN Jennifer Wakefield
16:55 CAN Rebecca Johnston (Brianne Jenner)
18:50 FTS Chad Hurtubise
12:22 CAN Jocelyne Larocque (Body-checking/Mise en échec corporelle)
|Third Period/Troisième période|
09:36 FTS Tyler Krushen
|Goaltenders/Gardien(ne)s de but|
|FTS||Colton Kutcher; Josh Mudryk|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||Total|