Coming off a 9-0 drubbing of Team Switzerland Tuesday night, Team Canada had a day off Wednesday. But that didn’t mean a day away from the ice, as they held an early afternoon practice at the MTS Centre.
Working on everything from their power play setup to breakout plays, the Canadian women will have another skate Thursday morning before taking to the ice later that night against Team Germany.
Happy with her team’s overall effort against the Swiss, Team Canada Head Coach Melody Davidson said the play of 41-year-old forward Danielle Goyette was especially pleasing, but not exactly surprising, considering Goyette’s intense work ethic.
“She’s playing at this age and at this level because she’s looked after herself and committed herself to training, and she’s a great skater,” said Davidson. “I mean, who’s kidding who? If she couldn’t skate like she does, she wouldn’t have the time to handle the puck or think with it like she does.”
Dubbed the “Ageless Wonder” by members of the local media, Goyette scored three goals and added an assist in Tuesday night’s win. Goyette has been a member of Canada’s National Women’s Team since the 1991-92 season, establishing herself as an offensive threat with 110 goals and 101 assists in 167 career games.
“It’s always fun when you can score goals, but for me it’s more important that the team is doing well,” said Goyette. “We’ve only been together for like 10 days, and I think we need to work on some little things. I’m glad we clicked last night, but we have to make sure that the team’s doing the right things, at the right times, because at the end of the tournament we need to be.”
All but forgotten in Canada’s nine-goal offensive outburst on Tuesday was the play of Canadian goaltender Charline Labonté. The 25-year-old got the call for Canada’s opening game, stopping all 17 shots thrown her way, en route to her ninth career Team Canada shutout.
“As a goalie, you want the shutouts, as many shutouts as possible,” said Labonté. “Even though it wasn’t a very tough one, it’s always good.”
Although she only saw 17 shots versus Switzerland, Labonté said it’s important to find ways to keep your head in the game.
“It’s like two different games, sometimes you get a lot of shots and sometimes you don’t. I wasn’t expecting to get 50 shots in that game, so you need to stay focused and find things that are going to work for you. For me, it’s just tracking the puck or communicating with my defensemen, and playing the puck as much as possible, because it keeps me thinking and moving.”
Heading into Thursday night’s game against Team Germany, Canada’s plan will remain virtually the same. But Davidson said that she doesn’t want to take the Germans for granted, as they’ve been steadily improving.
“I think their federation is really committed to the program. They want to host the Worlds in 2011 and they want a competitive team. So I feel like what you are seeing is an investment in a program, and they are starting to see some benefits from it.”
Game time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at (204) 780-3333, or by visiting ticketmaster.ca/iihf.