Canada defeated 6-1 by Edmonton CAC; crowd cheers on local Olympic star Szabados
by Kristen Lipscombe
EDMONTON, Alta. – Three games in four nights caught up with Canada’s National Women’s Team on Friday night, when the ladies in red and white were defeated 6-1 by the Edmonton CAC Canadians, despite putting all their efforts out on the ice at the end of a long road trip.
Nevertheless, Team Canada fans filled the Bill Hunter Arena, lining up for autographs from Mélodie Daoust (Valleyfield, Que./McGill University, CIS), Charline Labonté (Boisbriand, Que./Montreal, CWHL) and Marie-Philip Poulin,(Beauceville, Que./Boston University, HE) during the second intermission, and watching in eager anticipation as the puck soared up and down the ice. They cheered wildly for hometown girl Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta./Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, ACAC), who made some fantastic saves and stayed confident through all three periods, despite the deficit on the scoreboard. The 2010 Olympic gold medallist faced 32 shots total over 60 minutes.
Edmonton CAC opened the scoring at 5:44 in the first on a goal from Cole Gammer, who scored two goals on the night. Canada held off the boys through the remainder of the period, but the middle frame ended up being a little tougher on the ladies, with Brendan Holterhus making it 2-0 just 30 seconds into the second, and two more goals scored against before the period ended.
But Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) cut the Canadians' lead at 5:04 in the second, letting off a nice wrist shot that sent the puck flying into the opposition’s net, on an assist from Catherine Ward (Montreal, Que./Montreal CWHL), to make it 2-1. That would not only be Canada’s last goal of the period, but its last goal of the game, with Gammer scoring his second with 2:18 left on the clock before intermission and Tyler Benko notching his first of two in the final 48 seconds to make it 4-1 before the break. Benko’s goal came on a 5-on-3 power play for Edmonton CAC, with a couple of undisciplined Canadian penalties costing the canucks on the scoreboard.
The Canadians added two more in the third, from Benko on another power play midway through the period and Matthew Dykstra into an empty net with 2:44 left in the game. Canada had called a time-out and pulled Szabados in a final offensive attempt that ended up backfiring. Szabados stayed unfailingly cool and collected from the first puck drop to the final buzzer though, impressing her local fans nonetheless.
Szabados said it’s all about putting in the hard work now, so that Canada’s National Women’s Team can “peak in February” at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Wakefield agreed playing Alberta Midget Hockey League teams such as Edmonton CAC is a “huge” step on the road to Sochi 2014.
“With the guys and their toughness, it’s really simulating games against the U.S.,” she told reporters after the game. “We played three games in four days, so we’re pretty tired, but even mentally we’re getting past barriers that we didn’t think were possible, so that’s helping us quite a bit.”
“We did a good job of creating opportunities and (getting) shots on net,” Wakefield said of Canada’s performance Friday night. “A few more bounces, and we could have easily been in the game.”
Canada’s National Women’s Team is headed back to Calgary to continue practising and training out of Hockey Canada’s home arena, the Markin MacPhail Centre. Its next Midget Series game is set for next Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8:15 p.m. MT against the Calgary Buffaloes, in their home arena, the South Fish Creek Recreation Complex. 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 Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/Match no
|Arena/Aréna||Bill Hunter Arena||Location/Lieu||Edmonton, Alta.|
|Date||Friday, November 22, 2013||Time/Heure||20:15 MT|
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période|
05:44 EDM CAC Cole Gammer (Joshua Harris, Ryan McKinnon)
12:28 EDM CAC Tyler Benko (Interference/Obstruction)
|Second Period/Deuxième période|
00:30 EDM CAC Brendan Holterhus (Tyler Benko, Brayden Burke)
05:04 CAN Jennifer Wakefield (Catherine Ward)
17:45 EDM CAC Cole Gammer (Ryan McKinnon)
19:12 EDM CAC Tyler Benko (Brayden Burke, Brendan Holterhus) PP/AN
06:28 EDM CAC Brody Surette (Interference/Obstruction)
11:09 EDM CAC Josh Michener (Hooking/Accrocher)
18:24 CAN Vicki Bendus (Slashing/Coup de bâton)
18:24 CAN Jocelyne Larocque (Delay of Game/Retarder le match)
|Third Period/Troisième période|
10:24 EDM CAC Tyler Benko (Brayden Burke, Matthew Benko) PP/AN
17:16 EDM CAC Matthew Dykstra EN/FD SH/DN
08:47 CAN Jennifer Wakefield (Hooking/Accrocher)
17:00 EDM CAC Holden Daley (Hooking/Accrocher)
|Goaltenders/Gardien(ne)s de but|
||Levi Nelson; Eric Szudor (in 2nd/13:45)|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||Total|