This blog entry is from an interview I had with www.winih.com, a great website about international women’s hockey.
I will write soon about our win against team USA today!
Finland 0 Canada 5
Finland appears to have added young players to their team for this tournament. I was surprised that I did not see Finnish goaltender, Noora Raty and Carolina Rantamaki on their roster. We had a great start to the game getting chances right off the faceoff and being able to score on the 2nd shift with a nice play from Agosta to Hefford with a finish from Wakefield. We kept a great amount of pressure on them in all of the 1st period resulting in Finland taking several penalties. The Finns played with more confidence as the game went on.
You cannot replace Raty. Her steady performance over the last years has made her one of the top goaltenders in the world. But Isabella Portnoj made 49 saves today and was spectacular at times. Considering she played at the under 18 world championship last year, she did incredibly well at the senior level in what I believe was her first senior level game. Bright future for her and the team.
I would say that over the past couple of years, the Finns have gotten not only faster but stronger as well. Tonight, they made every effort to play physical and make body contact every time they approached a player. They now have young players that are very tall as well. I think that size is not an issue but more the depth to compete with a team that has 4 excellent offensive lines like the U.S. or Canada.
We had a great start which we wanted to improve on from yesterday’s exhibition game against Sweden. We are very young with none of our D having played in an Olympic Game and only 2 played at last year worlds. We have a great mix of veterans like Hefford, Agosta, Apps, and Wick and players that have gained confidence and become a force on our team over the past years such as Johnson, Irwin, and Wakefield. The young players that join our team for the first time are very talented and what strikes me is their confidence level and their skills with the puck. Growing through the under 18 and under 22 programs has really helped them mature and be ready for senior level competition
Jayna Hefford, Hayley Wickenheiser and I will share the (Captain/Assistant Captains) letters during the tournament. For the exhibition game, Gillian Apps wore the “C” while Agosta and Wick had “A”s. Hockey Canada strives to include several leaders who have been for years on their club or college teams. Most of our players have been or are currently in leadership roles.
I played with Wick (Hayley Wickenheiser) and ( Natalie) Spooner today. We created several chances for each other. Think I could have had a hat trick in the first but my scoring abilities are not always the best unfortunately. We had never played together so I was happy with our game for our first time
On Canadian Assistant Coach Danielle Goyette (former Team Canada player)
I think of her as one of the best, passionate and knowledgeable players to play the game and we all feel so lucky to have her coaching in our program. The little details that she is able to correct and teach are amazing and I learned so much from her every day!
Playing in Sweden
The organization is great. The facilities are very nice. Rink, track and soccer fields. We have a terrific locker room with individual stalls! We even have a sauna that is in fact used to store our cold baths! Kind of the opposite of what we want! Brr. The media attention from Canada has been great before the tournament and has continued since we are here. We played our exhibition game against Sweden in Sollentuna in front of a packed arena. It was outstanding to see how far women’s hockey has come in Sweden. There was a much smaller crowd tonight for our game against the Finns but we hope that it will be better against the U.S. tomorrow and against Sweden on Nov. 12th.
I was able to spend some time with my great friend Erika Holst from Team Sweden. It was awesome to see her and catch up. The players I played with or coached at the University of Minnesota Duluth know about the web site AthleticHub. They, like me, feel fortunate to have been able to play college hockey. I think we all believe in the importance of informing young athletes sooner about their opportunities in school and hockey.
Editor’s Note: Erika Holst played at University of Minnesota-Duluth with Caroline Ouellette who was also an assistant coach 2007/8
The following is The Canadian Press Summary of the Game.
Canada used a balanced offensive attack to defeat Finland 5-0 in Wednesday’s opening game at the 2011 4 Nations Cup women’s hockey tournament.Five different players scored for the defending champions in the preliminary round matchup at Stora Hallen arena.
“I think it speaks to the depth that we have on our team,” said head coach Dan Church. “Almost every player on our team is a goal scorer with their club team. It’s good to see different people chipping in.”
Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont.) gave Canada the early lead by scoring just 46 seconds into the game. Vicki Bendus (Wasaga Beach, Ont.) added a power play goal later in the period and Jesse Scanzano (Montreal, Que.) made it 3-0 a few minutes later.
Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) and Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ont.) added insurance goals in the second. Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alta.) turned aside 15 shots for the shutout, while Isabella Portnoj made 49 saves for Finland.