Canada shuts out Sweden in front of sold out Pembroke crowd for exhibition game
by Kristen Lipscombe
PEMBROKE, Ont. – It was just as much a world championship warm-up in the stands as it was on the ice Saturday night at the Pembroke Memorial Centre, as Canada’s National Women’s Team blanked Sweden 8-0 in front of a sold out capacity crowd of 2,440 fans in exhibition action.
The 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship host committee expects plenty of home town – and home country – fans when the puck drops next Tuesday, April 2 in the nation’s capital. The event comes back to Ottawa, Ont., 23 years after the inaugural women’s world championship, when Canada’s National Women’s Team sported pink jerseys to help promote the still young sport of female hockey.
But no advertising seemed necessary Saturday night in Pembroke, as fans in red and white lined up around the block in the small town of Pembroke for the chance to see the top women’s player from across the country in action.
Forward Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) opened the scoring for Canada midway through the first on an assist from blueliner Catherine Ward (Montreal, Que./Montreal, CWHL), starting a scoring trend that couldn’t be stopped. Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) and Haley Irwin (Thunder Bay, Ont./Montreal, CWHL) made it 3-0 by the time the period was done.
Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser (Shaunavon, Sask./University of Calgary, CIS) scored the sole goal of the second, with Ward again assisting, to make it 4-0 going into the second intermission. Despite a slower middle frame, the canucks picked it up again in the third, with Spooner scoring her second of the night while Canada was shorthanded, and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Boston University, HE), Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) and Ward adding markers to the score sheet by the time the buzzer sounded.
Ward’s marker came in the final 27 seconds of the game.
“These games are good for us, just to build chemistry with our lines, and get some confidence going into the tournament,” Spooner told reporters following the game. “We’re all super excited for the real games to start, obviously, because those are the ones you really want to play in.”
Wickenheiser agreed Saturday night’s game was a good tune-up for Canada, both on and off the ice.
“When you play in empty rinks most of the year, and you get that chance with the national team to fill the rink, you take advantage of that and you relish those moments, and you realize how many people enjoy what you do,” Wickenheiser said.
“It was a good start,” she said. “In some areas of the ice, we need to be quicker (and have) a little better puck movement, but for the most I feel like we’re right on track going into the first game of the tournament.”
Elin Holmlov, alternate captain for Sweden, said playing Canada in exhibition action serves as important preparation for her team as well.
“It’s great that we get the opportunity to play Team Canada, because they are a very fast team, and it makes us step up to a higher level, and obviously Canada is a very strong team, (so) it helps ups a lot and we’re happy to get to play them,” she said. “Canada is such an amazing hockey country, and we’re fortunate that worlds is here this season,”
Head coach Dan Church agreed Saturday night’s game was “a good dress rehearsal” for Canada’s National Women’s Team, but added the true story is “the crowd,”
“It’s always exciting to play in front of a packed house,” he said. “I think they gave us a lot of energy and allowed us to build the momentum as the game went on, and we just fed off that, playing to the crowd. It’s a really good start for us, and hopefully we’ll be playing in front of some big crowds moving into next week.”
THE MOMENT: Canada @ Sweden – Saturday, March 30
by Kristen Lipscombe
PEMBROKE Ont. – The moment of the night Saturday in this small community outside of Ottawa? When the doors at the Pembroke Memorial Centre opened to a throng of hockey fans, who had lined up well in advance of the 7 p.m. puck drop, and all the way down and around several blocks, just for the chance to get the best seats in the house to watch Canada’s National Women’s Team face off against Sweden in exhibition action.
It was standing room only inside the Pembroke Memorial Centre, where a capacity, sold out crowd of 2,440 fans adorned in red and white, and some in the black and yellow of Canada’s third jersey in support of LIVEStrong, filled the stands to watch their home country’s National Women’s Team shut out Sweden 8-0 for an impressive win.
Each and every one of those fans cheered wildly with every Canadian goal, from Natalie Spooner’s game opener midway through the first, to Catherine Ward’s final addition to the scoreboard with 27 seconds left on the clock.
The members of Canada’s National Women’s Team often refer to an enthusiastic crowd rooting them on as the seventh player on the ice, sometimes making the most important difference in the most important games.
If the fans that filled the Pembroke Memorial Centre on Saturday night are any indication of what’s to come at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in the nation’s capital, then Canada’s home country crowd could be a key step on the road to gold.
|Game Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/No. de match||4||Round/Ronde||Exhibition|
|Arena/Aréna||Pembroke Memorial Centre
|Date||Sat. Mar. 30, 2013
||Time/Heure||7:00 p.m. ET
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période|
10:26 CAN Natalie Spooner (Catherine Ward)
11:34 CAN Jayna Hefford (Brianne Jenner, Marie-Philip Poulin)
13:15 CAN Haley Irwin (Meghan Agosta-Marciano)
00:18 CAN Hayley Wickenheiser (Holding/Retenir)
07:26 SWE Lina Wester (Interfernece/Obstruction)
10:59 CAN Gillian Apps (High-sticking/Bâton éléve)
17:44 SWE Anna Borgqvist (Hooking/Accrocher)
|Second Period/Deuxième période|
08:15 CAN Hayley Wickenheiser (Catherine Ward)
08:05 SWE Anna Borgqvist (Body-checking/Mise en échec corporelle)
09:13 SWE Lina Backlin (Body-checking/Mise en échec corporelle)
12:59 CAN Lauriane Rougeau (Interference/Obstruction)
15:40 SWE Louise Nordberg Tenglin (Tripping/ Faire trébucher)
19:34 CAN Meghan Agosta-Marciano (Tripping/ Faire trébucher)
|Third Period/Troisième période|
|Goaltenders/Gardien(ne)s de but|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||Total|