The Canadian women’s hockey team could not find the revenge they wanted against Russia at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Just as they did in the 2015 finals, Canada will have to settle for silver after Russia’s potent offence controlled the game lifting them to a 4-1 win.
Canada’s special teams, which had proved to be very effective throughout the tournament, let them down in the finals going 0-14 on the power play.
“We just couldn’t bury the puck today. We had lots of opportunities to get it deep and put it in the net but we just couldn’t do that today. A lot of missed opportunities for sure,” said assistant captain Kelty Apperson (New Hamburg, Ont./St. Thomas University). Apperson finished the five-game tournament with three goals and seven points. “They played a strong defensive system. They were very aggressive on the [penalty kill].”
Russia was bolstered with seven members of the country’s 2014 Olympic team, including current University of Calgary Dinos forward Alexandra Vafina. But, it was the two goal performance by Olga Sosina in front of a standing-room only crowd of over 5,000 at the Baluan Sholak Arena that led them to their second gold medal in women’s hockey at the Universiade.
Sosina, who helped Russia clinch a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship with the shootout winner over Finland, opened the scoring against Canada in the first period while on the powerplay. A quick wrist shot found its way under the crossbar.
Seven minutes later, at 18:22, Sosina served a perfect pass through the crease to Liudmila Belyakova who beat Canadian netminder Valerie Lamenta (Montreal, Que./University of Guelph) five-hole.
Apperson finally put Canada on the board in the second period with a quick wrist shot along the ice that got past Russian goalie Maria Sorokina.
Sosina came right back with a shot that fooled Canada’s Lamenta short side, making it 3-1 for the Russians. Alevtina Shtareva put the game out of reach for the Canadians in the third period pushing in her own rebound.
“We need to congratulate Russia for an excellent game. They played extremely well. Their goalie kept them in the game early on when I thought we were putting some good pressure on them,” said Team Canada head coach Rachel Flanagan from the University of Guelph. Team Canada’s speed caused Russia problems, forcing the now two-time champions to take 14 penalties.
“Obviously power play was a big factor. We must have had around 30 minutes of power play in the game. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, we worked hard all game, we just missed too many opportunities,” said Mélodie Bouchard, a (Sept-Îles, Que./ University of Ottawa), who ended the tourney with five goals and eight points. “I’m still proud to have won a medal. But the thing I’m most proud of was to win it with those girls.”
Alexandra Labelle (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que./Université de Montréal), who had been making her case for tournament MVP, was kept off the scoresheet. In the semifinal 8-1 win over the U.S., she netted three goals and had one assist for the second consecutive game. Through five games, the forward led the tournament in goals (nine) and points (13).
While it wasn’t the colour of medal they wanted, it was the Canadian delegation’s first medal at the 2017 Universiade. The U.S. took the women’s hockey bronze medal, beating China 3-0.
Since women’s hockey was added to the Universiade program, Canada claimed the first three gold medals (2009 Harbin, China, 2011 Erzurum, Turkey and 2013 Trentino, Italy).
The U Sports all-stars roster consists of full-time students at a postsecondary institution or that have graduated from a postsecondary institution in the year preceding the Universiade, a multisport event.Back to Top
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