Canada’s National Women’s Team has been tucked up in the mountains of northern Vermont since the players were named to the world championship roster.
Their isolation is about to come to an end.
The Canadians head to Burlington after their final practice at the Jay Peak Ice Haus on Friday, for the start of the world championship.
Canada opens Saturday against defending champion and host U.S. at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Field House.
Canada played its first game together since selection camp ended, beating Sweden 8-0 at the Ice Haus in a warm-up game Thursday.
“This was our first game as a team, so we were feeling out new lines and new combinations,” forward Gillian Apps said. “You could see thing were coming together, we were creating off the rush and we were getting a lot of shots on net, and that’s what we came into this game wanting.”
Meghan Agosta scored twice and Rebecca Johnston had a goal and two assists to pace Canada on Thursday.
Apps and Haley Irwin both had a goal and an assist.
Vicki Bendus, Jayna Hefford and Natalie Spooner also scored.
Charline Labonté, and Shannon Szabados split goaltending duties and the shutout.
Kim Martin allowed one goal and replacement Sara Grahn gave up seven in Sweden’s net.
Canada and Sweden played in front of an appreciative crowd of about 400 people Thursday.
Twenty-three players were named to the Canadian team Sunday in Ottawa, Ont. They travelled the same day to Jay Peak, a ski resort just a few kilometres south of the Canada-U.S. border.
The players worked hard, and just as important, rested hard after their gruelling selection camp, said head coach Dan Church.
“It’s good to be in a kind of a remote location because we have to do that,” Church said. “If you go to Burlington too early, then it gets a bit stale and monotonous. This keeps it interesting.”
Apps says the team’s stint in Jay Peak has the players anticipating their arrival in Burlington.
“We open with a huge game against the U.S.,” she said. “We’ve here known we would get through a week of hard work and rest and then we knew on Friday that we’d head to Burlington and the tournament starts Saturday.”
IHLC: With the win, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship it won from the United States in an exhibition game on March 31, a defensive 1-0 victory. Team Canada, in their record 26th reign with the IHLC, last faced Sweden over the title at November’s Four Nations Cup in Sweden, where Canada defeated the hosts 3-1 in group play to retain the IHLC. Canada next faces the United States in the opening game of the 2012 World Championships in nearby Burlington with the IHLC on the line.
03:26 – GOAL – Apps (Bram)
04:55 – PEN – Larocque, holding
11:01 – PEN – Jenner, charging
16:49 – PEN – Holst, tripping
32:23 – GOAL – Agosta (Wakefield, Irwin)
35:22 – GOAL – Johnston (Hefford, Poulin)
45:21 – GOAL – Hefford (Poulin, Johnston)
47:28 – GOAL – Bendus (Apps)
48:22 – GOAL – Spooner (Wickenheiser)
49:54 – PEN – Jenner, tripping
58:39 – PEN – Nevalainen, charging
58:57 – PP GOAL – Irwin (Johnston)
59:21 – GOAL – Agosta
W: Labonté (9-9), Szabados (8-8)
L: Martin (29-30), Grahn (25-32)
SHOTS ON GOAL
17+26+19 = 62
5+7+5 = 17
Goaltenders: Charline Labonté, Shannon Szabados. Defence: Courtney Birchard, Tessa Bonhomme, Laura Fortino, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau, Catherine Ward. Forwards: Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Vicki Bendus, Bailey Bram, Jayna Hefford (A), Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Caroline Ouellette (A), Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield, Hayley Wickenheiser (C).
Goaltenders: Sara Grahn, Kim Martin. Defence: Emilia Andersson, Linnea Backman, Johanna Fallman, Linnea Hedin, Frida Nevalainen (A), Johanna Olofsson, Annie Svedin. Forwards: Jenni Asserholt, Gizela Blom, Tina Enstrom, Erika Grahm, Elin Holmlöv (A), Erika Holst (C), Michelle Löwenhielm, Klara Myrén, Danijela Rundqvist, Rebecca Stenberg, Erica Udén Johansson, Lina Webster, Pernilla Winberg.