LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK – Team Canada got their medal haul back underway on Wednesday with two medals at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games.
It was a repeat performance for some Canadian athletes, with Shilo Rousseau reaching the podium in biathlon 7.5km sprint and David La Rue charging alongside his teammates for a bronze in the speed skating team pursuit.
For both, it was a second medal of the Games. Rousseau added on to her gold medal from the 12.5km race, while La Rue added a team pursuit bronze alongside Hubert Marcotte and Josh Telizyn to his 1000m bronze medal.
After warm weather and snow delayed the start of the team pursuit from the morning slot to the evening, the Canadian crew stayed sharp and ready all day. Skating in the final pair of the event alongside the heavily favoured Team Japan, Canada skated the distance in 4:11.28, weathering the unfavourable conditions.
“We have worked hard for this medal since we are not used to skating this event,” La Rue told U SPORTS. “We are more accustomed to shorter distances. We achieved a great race, and everyone did what each had to do. We gave our all, and we even came close to winning the gold! It was super fun to be on the podium with these guys!”
Japan went on to win the men’s event, with South Korea claiming silver ahead of Canada’s bronze.
Meanwhile, the women’s team pursuit team looked bound for the podium as well, leading the race by over five seconds going into their second to last lap before faltering and slipping on snow, crashing into the barriers and seeing their medal hopes evaporate.
Led by 3000m champion Laura Hall and bronze medalist Rose-Anne Grenier, alongside Laurie Cayer, the team was looking good for the podium and a potential gold before their crash.
Yet it won’t take long for Canada to look for more medals on the Lake Placid Olympic oval, with competition continuing on Thursday with the 500m races.
In biathlon, however, Rousseau’s second medal of the Games came down to her shooting, missing just a single shot through 10n targets in the shortest event of the Games.
The uOttawa student skied a time of 24:41.2, falling just short of the gold medal-winning time of Poland’s Anna Nedza-Kubiniec.
“It’s just amazing. I’m just so happy that I was able to win those medals for Team Canada”, Rousseau said. “During the zero, I was really focusing on just trying to stay calm, pay attention to the wind flags, and remind myself that I am indeed a good shooter. I was just here to have fun and to do my best.”
With two medals already secured, Rousseau and her Canadian teammates look for more hardware when the women take on the 10km pursuit and the men the 12.5km.
Canada Men’s hockey caps group stage
Team Canada’s men’s hockey team capped their group stage with a 4-0 win over Team Czechia, a potential preview of the gold medal game, with the Canadians facing their toughest test to date.
Manitoba’s Brett Davis scored his fifth goal of the tournament on an odd deflection on the powerplay before Queen’s Jacob Paquette slid the puck over to UQTR’s Simon LaFrance, who slotted the puck past Czechia’s Denis Vacek.
While the Czechs held Canada off the scoresheet in the second period, Canada’s first scoreless period since the opening one of the tournament against Ukraine, they regained their form in the third.
SMU’s Andrew Cozhead potted one of his own midway through the third period, before captain Jared Dmytriw ended the day with a goal to make it 4-0.
Canada continued their shutout streak with the win, as TMU Bold netminder Kai Edmonds made 12 saves in the win.
Although they’ve topped the group, Canada must wait until the end of Thursday’s play to find out who their opponent is for the semifinal in Lake Placid.
Canada women’s hockey eliminates Team USA
In their most challenging matchup yet, the Canadian women’s hockey team defeat Team USA 2-1, eliminating them from the tournament.
After a scoreless first period in front of a sold out crowd in Potsdam, New York, the Canadians broke through in the second period as Guelph Hannah Tait worked the puck over to Waterloo’s Leah Herrfort, finishing past Elizabeth Simmons.
In the third, Nipissing’s Maria Dominico scored the eventual winner for Team Canada, giving them the insurance goal that the Americans wouldn’t get back, despite playing on the front foot for the final minutes and cutting Canada’s lead down to a single tally.
Canada had already topped the group, but ended their group stage with a perfect 5-0-0 record and will play Slovakia in the semifinals, before facing either Japan or Czechia in the gold or bronze medal games.
READ MORE: Canada gets taste of rivalry, eliminating Team USA
Team Abby Marks eliminated as Purcell moves on
Canada’s hopes of double curling podiums were dashed on Wednesday, as Alberta’s Team Abby Marks ensured their elimination in the morning draw with an 8-4 loss to Great Britain. Yet in their final game as Alberta Pandas, the Canadin rink capped off the group stage with a 5-3 win over Switzerland in the evening draw.
On the men’s side, Dalhousie’s Team Own Purcell punched their ticket to the playoffs, despite dropping a 5-4 decision to Team USA. While the Americans made the most of their opportunities with the hammer and limited Canada’s steal opportunities, the late Canadian push wasn’t enough to grab a win.
Based on other results, Canada clinched a spot in the medal round with a 6-2 record and will take on the semifinal on Thursday night at the Saranac Lake Civic Center after a morning draw against Team GB to wrap up the group stage.
Alpine struggles in challenging conditions
The men’s giant slalom didn’t go to plan for Canada’s alpine skiers, with only three crossing the finish line in both runs on a snowy and foggy day at Whiteface Mountain. Montana State’s Dawson Yates captured the best Canadian result of the day and his best of the Games so far with 16th place.
Meanwhile, Caeden Carruthers of Alaska Anchorage cracked the top-20 in 20th place, while Calgary’s Taras Dets finished 30th. Rounding off the Canadian contingent were the three DNFs with Montreal’s Pierre-Elliot Poitras, St. Lawrence’s Aidan Marler and Calgary’s Colin Kress.
The alpine events are far from over at Lake Placid 2023, however, with Team Canada facing Switzerland in the first round of the mixed team parallel competition before both the men and women take on slalom to end the Games