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Johnston Tweaks Her Game, Hits Her Stride With Canadian Women's Hockey Team
NWT.005.09
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September 3, 2009
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VANCOUVER – Scoring five goals in two games, including her first career hat trick, is thrilling enough for Rebecca Johnston.

Catching a glimpse of actor Robert Pattinson, star of the “Twilight” movies, is a close second.

The 19-year-old from Sudbury, Ont., heard the cast was staying in the same hotel as the Canadian women's hockey team this week and hoped to see some of the stars.

Filming for the third movie in the series, “Eclipse”, is underway in Vancouver. The Canadian women are participating for the Hockey Canada Cup tournament, which is an Olympic test event, until Sunday.

Johnston was taking advantage of free Internet at the hotel Wednesday night and glanced up just in time to see Pattinson walk by.

She wasn't quite quick enough with her cellphone camera to record the moment, but was able to tell teammate Meaghan Mikkelson, also a fan, about her celebrity sighting.

“I did see Robert from Twilight,” Johnston exclaimed Thursday prior to Canada's game against the U.S. “I watched the first movie and I've read all the books. I love all of them, so I was pretty excited.

“He walked down the hall and I think he was with his bodyguard. He looked like he didn't want to be bothered.”

The five-foot-nine, 167-pound winger is more pleased about how far her game has come since the world championship in April. Five goals in her first two games of the Hockey Canada Cup was two more than she'd scored in her first 20 with the national team.

Johnston did not play at all in the third period of Canada's 4-1 loss to the U.S. in the world championship final.

“Her decision making was erratic,” head coach Melody Davidson recalled. “She just didn't manage the puck well enough for me in a game like that.”

Davidson told Johnston she needed to use her teammates more and stop trying to do it all herself by lugging the puck too much or trying to go end to end.

A former Canadian junior bronze medallist in the 400 metres, Johnston is a powerful skater with skilled hands to complement her speed.

She's the niece of Mike Johnston, a former assistant coach of the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings and now coaching the Western Hockey League's Portland Winter Hawks.

While Rebecca Johnston seems like a national team veteran after appearing in two world championships, she was just 17 for her first in Harbin, China, in 2008. Her game is still a work in progress.

Johnston became a student of video this summer and broke down her play with both her college team, the Cornell Big Red, and with the national team. She tried to incorporate her findings into her summer scrimmages with men's midget and junior players in Sudbury.

“It just came down to me,” she said. “I took that sitting in the third period and worked hard all summer trying to improve.

“I looked at what scenarios I should be doing better. I've gotten a lot more comfortable and have confidence in myself to be able to do those kinds of things.”

Davidson was impressed enough with Johnston's progress that she intended to start her on a line with captain Hayley Wickenheiser and centre Meghan Agosta against the U.S.

“The biggest things she's shown here this week, and she showed it back in Calgary in the four games we played, is more awareness of the team game and not so much one on one, trying to go end to end with the puck, but making the right decision on touching the puck, shooting it, chipping it,” Davidson said.

“The last two weeks she's demonstrated terrific puck management.”


For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557
abrin@hockeycanada.ca

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
kgoodrich@hockeycanada.ca

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