LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK – Day 8 of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Winter Games couldn’t have gone much better for Team Canada, winning three medals and clinching a spot in the women’s hockey gold medal game.
Laval University student-athletes David La Rue and Hubert Marcotte got thighs started early, winning gold and bronze in the men’s mass start speed skating. For La Rue, it was his third medal of the Games, matching biathlete Shilo Rousseau for the most by a Canadian athlete in Lake Placid.
Meanwhile, for Marcotte, who was the beneficiary of a late crash in the mass start, it was a second medal after skating to team pursuit bronze alongside La Rue the previous evening.
It took a crazy 16-lap race in the snow. Still, the Canadian duo were able to pull off the double podium, Canada’s second at the Games, and also elevate Canadian speed skating to six medals.
“At the finish line, I didn’t know he was third,” La Rue, a native of Saint-Lambert, QC, told 49 Sports. “Then he came to me and was like, ‘congrats, I finished third,’ and I was like ‘let’s go!”
With his hat-trick of podiums at the FISU Games, Speed Skating Canada named La Rue to the ISU Speed Skating World Cup team for Canada’s top-level upcoming events.
On the women’s side of the mass start, the Canadians weren’t as lucky, with Rose-Anne Grenier capturing the top spot with 12th place, while Laura Hall fell midway through lap 13, earning a 22nd-place finish.
READ MORE ON SPEED SKATING DOUBLE PODIUM
Team Owen Purcell bronze in curling
All the medal action wasn’t just on the slick speed skating ice, however, with Canada also winning bronze on the pebbled sheets of the Saranac Lake Civic Centre to leave the Games with a men’s curling medal.
Canada’s Team Owen Purcell needed the last rock of the game. Still, a brilliant triple knockout gave the Dalhousie Tigers rink the only Canadian curling medal of the Games while adding Canada’s 11th overall podium.
The 11 podium performances make the Lake Placid Games the second most successful for Canada, behind the Belluno 1985 Games where the nation earned 15 medals.
“I saw that last triple, and I thought that the angles weren’t exactly in our favour for it, but I knew that if I threw it hard and if I hit the right angle on the run, I thought that we could have a decent shot at making it,” Purcell said.
“It’s obviously pretty hard to throw it accurately when you’re pulling the rock in and giving it a shove at the end. But I managed to somehow hit the broom and made a pretty good shot, and they had to make their last one.”
Team Canada clinches gold medal game spot
Team Canada’s women’s hockey team downed Team Slovakia 6-1 on Friday, clinching a spot in the gold medal game on Saturday, where they’ll face Team Japan, who the previously beat in the tournament.
The semifinal didn’t start to plan, however, for the Canadians, as they allowed the first goal in the first period, trailing for the first time in the Lake Placid Games.
With the semifinals and finals relocated to Lake Placid’s Herb Brooks Arena, the bright lights may have gotten to the Canadians, but a moment to regroup at the first intermission powered them to the eventual dominant win.
After allowing the opening goal, Team Canada scored six unanswered from Maria Dominico, Audrey-Anne Veilllete, Isabella Pozzi, Carley Olivier, Emmy Fecteau and Leah Herrfort.
“It was a bit of a relief [when Canada tied] because it was the first time we were losing by one goal throughout the tournament, so it got us back on track,” Montreal’s Annabelle Faubert said. “We knew what we had to do to get back to the good habits that we had built throughout the tournament.”
After fighting back from their first deficit, Team Canada is ready to strive for the gold medal when they hit the ice at the FISU Games for a final time against Japan at the Herb Brooks Arena. Puck drop is at 8:00pm ET.
Team Canada hasn’t won women’s hockey FISU gold since 2013.
Short track speed skating falls short
While the Canadian long-track speed skaters cleaned up the medals, the short-track team has yet to land on the podium through two days of competition.
Canada’s six skaters, three men and three women, were led by Karina Montminy, who finished 6th in the women’s 500m.
Meanwhile, her teammate Anne-Clara Belley also raced the B Final to finish 8th.
On the men’s side, Jérôme Courtemanche finished 12th, while Justin Bergeron barely cracked the top 20 in 20th.
It wasn’t all misses for Canada at the 1932 Rink, however, as the men’s and women’s 3000m relay teams navigated their way through the semifinals and will race for medals on Saturday night.
Canada has four more chances to hit the short track podium in Lake Placid, with the men’s and women’s 1000m, as well as both genders’ 3000 relay finals.
Canadians crack top-30 in slalom
Two Canadian skiers cracked the top-30 in the women’s slalom on the final day of their competitions at Whiteface Mountain.
Mika-Anne Reha of nearby Middlebury College finished 15th with a combined time of 1:59.59, while her Canadian teammate Laurence Alain crossed her second run finish line with a time of 2:13.03.
Italy’s Carlotta Marcorra took the final women’s alpine gold medal, while Switzerland’s Valentine Marcharet and Sweden’s Sara Rask rounded off the podium.
Just one alpine event remains at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games, with the men taking on the slalom on Saturday morning.