The 1980 Rink was buzzing Saturday night in anticipation of the women’s ice hockey final of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games.
Canada and Japan were squaring off after winning their respective semifinals against the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Canadians went on to dominate the gold-medal affair by a score of 5-0.
Canada sent a strong message right from the start, outshooting its rivals by a 15-3 margin in the first period, but the score remained 0-0.
The winners took control of the scoreboard in the second with four goals, however, starting with Audrey-Anne Veillette and Maria Dominico less than five minutes apart, followed by Maggy Burbidge and Céline Frappier.
Elizabeth Mar Mura rounded out the scoring in the third. Kendra Woodland earned a 12-save shutout.
This was the seventh time women’s ice hockey was played at the FISU Games. Canada has played in all seven gold-medal finals, winning four times.
For Japan, the silver medal is their best-ever result. They had claimed bronze in 2019 and 2015.
“It’s definitely an honour to play in this final game and we’ve been focusing each and every game. Try not to get ahead of ourselves and to finally be here and playing this game and get the goal that we wanted is definitely surreal,” said Dominico.
She added the team focused on its goals and not making mistakes.
“We just tried to focus on our game plan. Play the game that we know how to play, no matter what the other teams bring, and today we are fortunate to come out with that win.”
According to Dominico, teamwork was also key to Canada’s success.
“I would say the players on this team are selfless, dedicated, and share the same passion of the game that I have myself.
“We definitely have a special team dynamic here that we’ve been trying to build since we got here and I think it showed today, how hard we’ve been working.”
Leah Herrfort talked about the overall experience in Lake Placid.
“Everyone individually was so excited to be here and then when we all came together it was like magic. It was amazing.
“Everyone was there from day one and it’s a team effort at the end of the day. I mean, I knew we were going to be good and I knew we could win. But the important thing was to believe in ourselves.”
Written by Julieta Boschiazzo, FISU Young Reporter
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