Women’s hockey drought breaker highlights Canada’s Day 9

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK – Canada’s penultimate day at the Lake Placid 2023 World University Games ended a 10-year drought, as Canada’s women’s hockey team stood atop the podium after a 5-0 win over Japan. 

Canada, who hadn’t won any hockey gold medal since 2013, captured the top spot in the women’s hockey tournament, completing a perfect tournament record while only allowing three goals through seven games. Meanwhile, Canada scored 42. 

“Speechless, amazing, the best feeling in the entire world, this is something I’ve dreamt of since I started playing hockey,” Queen’s forward Scout Watkins-Southward told 49 Sports.  “This game, specifically the gold medal game of the second largest international competition in the world, was definitely one of the greatest experiences and opportunities I’ve ever had.

Team Canada celebrates after defeating Japan 5-0 during the Women’s Gold Medal Hockey game at the 2023 FISU World University Games on January 20, 2023 in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/FISU Games)

Although Canada captured the gold medal dominantly by the game’s end, it wasn’t an easy task, as the group had to adjust following a scoreless opening period. Despite putting up a strong number of shots through the first, Canada couldn’t find the breakthrough, waiting until the second to get on the scoresheet. 

76 seconds into the second period, Canada opened the scoring as Waterloo’s Leah Herrfort carried the puck with speed through the neutral zone before crashing the goal and allowing Montreal’s Audrey-Anne Veillette to poke the puck in.

“After the first, we had to adapt a bit, and we had to play more supportive to each other,” team captain Emmy Fecteau said. “And after the second period, we were working together and working harder than them, and it paid off.”

With insurance goals from Maria Dominico, Maggy Burbidge, Emmy Fecteau and Elizabeth Mura, Canada strutted their way to the gold medal. At the same time, UNB goaltender Kendra Woodland kept the shutout with 12 saves. 

“You always have something to prove when put this jersey on,” said Woodland. “It is striving to be the best you can be. I stuck to my game and got the results I wanted to get.”

While Canada’s journey to gold in women’s hockey may be complete, the men still are yet to finish their tournament, as they face Team USA for gold on Sunday afternoon ahead of the closing ceremony. 

Shilo Rousseau comes up short in biathlon

It wasn’t meant to be for Canada’s Shilo Rousseau and her goal of four medals at the FISU Games. After winning two gold and a  silver, the University of Ottawa skier finished in sixth place in the women’s mass start-to-end biathlon competition.

While in her earlier competitions, Rousseau used the confidence gained through the opening standing shooting round, she missed two shots on her first attempt on Saturday, putting her well back of the lead en route to the sixth place finish, 54.7 seconds back of the gold medal time. 

Carleton’s Zoe Pekos moved from 17th starting place to 13th to end her FISU Games. Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Zachar Demers, Simon Gauthier and Wil Moineau finished 27th, 28th and 29th, respectively. 

Although Canada’s medal-lacking final day of biathlon wasn’t what they were hoping for, it was another strong performance from Rousseau and the group, as they continued to highlight the Canadian efforts in Northern New York 

Short Track falls short

For the third night in a row, Canada’s short-track speed skaters finished without a spotn on the podium, leaving the FISU Games without any hardware to their names, 

On Saturday, Canada’s short-track athletes took on the 1000m, and none earned a berth in the “A” Final, as Philippe Daudelin qualified for the semifinals, eventually finishing ninth after missing out on the final by a last-second strive by a Kazakh opponent 

Meanwhile, McGill’s. Jérôme Courtemanche didn’t make it to the quarter-finals on the men’s side. 

On the women’s side, the trio of Wren Acorn, Anne-Clara Belley, and Karina Montminy all failed to make the quarter-final. 

Alpine wraps up at Whiteface

Canada wrapped up their final day at Whiteface Mountain just south of Lake Placid with the men’s slalom, headlined by Taras Dets of the University of Calgary skiing to a top-30 time in 29th place over the two runs. 

At the same time, his countrymen Colin Kress finished 31st, while Pierre-Elliot Poitras and Caeden Carruthers crossed the finish line in 33rd and 34th. 

Dawson Yates and Aidan Marler both posted DNFs. 

Although the FISU Games didn’t bear any medals for Team Canada in alpine, it was a learning experience for the NCAA and RSEQ-based group as they look towards collegiate and continental championships. 

A late debut in parallel snowboard

On the second to last day of the Games, Canada’s parallel GS snowboarders got the chance to take the slopes of Gore Mountain, testing themselves on the clock in search of medals for an experienced group. 

The Farber brothers, Adam and Jacob, both saw their day end in the round of 16, while Gabrielle Wood couldn’t navigate through qualifying. 

While Canada has come up short in snowboarding so far in these Games, they’ll have an additional opportunity on Sunday, as the women’s contingent takes on the slalom standalone race. 

Looking ahead

There’s only one day left in the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, featuring debatably one of the biggest events of the whole two weeks, with Canada taking on Team USA for the men’s hockey gold medal. 

Although the USA hasn’t put up exceptional numbers against tough teams throughout the tournament, they’ve shown an ability to win hockey based purely on their grit and physical play. 

Yet, with Canada looking to halt the “Miracle on Ice” storylines in Canada vs USA gold medal game, Sunday couldn’t be more intriguing,

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