GRANADA, Spain (CIS) – Team Canada dropped its first-ever women’s hockey game in Universiade history Sunday night at Mulhacen Pavilion, falling 3-1 to a Russian team featuring eight Olympians and the leading scorer in CIS this season.
Reigning three-time champion Canada drops to 1-1 with the loss, while Russia improves to 2-0 and takes top spot in Pool B in the short, four-game Universiade tournament.
“I thought it was a pretty good game,” said Canadian head coach Jon Rempel of the University of Manitoba. “They’re a very good team, and with a group as young as we have with a lot of first-timers here, we battled hard and took the game over at the end. We got stronger in the second half of the game but we just couldn’t find the equalizer at the end.”
Russian captain Iya Gavrilova of the University of Calgary Dinos scored the first goal and set the tone for a fast, physical game. Gavrilova currently has 37 points in 23 games for the Dinos this season, and she leads the Universiade in scoring with four goals and three assists through two games.
Gavrilova’s goal, a rocket from the blue line on the power play, rewarded the Russians for their quick start. Anna Shokhina added another just three minutes into the second period to put Russia up 2-0.
But as the game went on, Canada started to take over, peppering Russian netminder Yulia Leskina with 31 shots on the night, but was only able to put one past her. Playing its first game after a four-day break, Canada finished just one-for-eight on the power play and struggled to get quality scoring opportunities on Leskina, especially in their four opportunities with the extra attacker in the first period.
Canada’s lone goal did come with the Russians in the box as Breanna Lanceleve’s (Lower Sackville, N.S.) tally brought the score to 2-1 with eight minutes to play, but another late power play was unsuccessful and Russia added an empty-net goal from Elena Dergacheva.
“They defend well, they’re very organized, and you can tell a lot of these players play together a lot,” said Rempel. “They are pretty cohesive in the way they kill penalties, and we haven’t had a lot of power play time, especially in game action, and that showed. We have to make some adjustments and move forward.”
Élodie Rousseau-Sirois (Pohenegamook, Que.) made 27 saves on 29 shots faced in the game in a losing cause for Canada. The Montreal Carabins netminder did all she could to keep Canada in the game, making key saves as the Russians tried to up the tempo after Canada got on the board.
Canada will regroup to play in the semi-final round on Wednesday where they will face the winner of Pool A, which will be determined Monday in the last game of the round robin between Japan and China. Russia will face the loser of that game in the other semi-final, setting up the prospect of another Canada-Russia tilt for the gold medal.
Rempel, for his part, isn’t looking that far ahead.
“We’re just going to prepare for the semi-final and doing what we have to do there and not looking past that. There are two good teams sitting there and we’ll play one of them, so I’m not worried about these guys again right now. We’ll deal with them when the time comes – we just have to keep getting better as a group.”
NOTES: Canada’s 22-game win streak dated back to the first-ever Universiade competition in Harbin, China in 2009... the Red and White had won both previous FISU Games match-ups against Russia by identical 5-0 scores, with both games coming in 2013 in Trentino, Italy – including the gold medal game... Canada had previously given up three goals in a Universiade only once, in a 6-3 win over Slovakia in 2009... Canada opened the 2015 tournament with a 7-1 win over Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/winter/2015/index
Granada 2015 website: http://www.granada2015.org/en/
TEAM CANADA SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times local / 6 hours ahead of EST)
Tuesday, Feb. 4 (20:30): Canada 7 Kazakhstan 1
Sunday, Feb. 8 (20:30): Russia 3, Canada 1
Wednesday, Feb. 11 (13:30): Canada vs. TBD (semifinal)
Thursday, Feb. 12 (16:00): Final (www.fisu.tv)
Official boxscore: http://wuni15.sportresult.com/HIDE/en/-60/Root/ViewPdf/IHW400B03_C74_4.0.pdf
Russia 3, Canada 1
1. RUS Iya Gavrilova (4) (Olga Sosina, Anna Shokhina), 8:18 PP
Liudmila Belyakova (RUS) tripping, 0:58;
Sarah Casorso (CAN) high sticking, 5:07;
Jessica Kampjes (CAN) roughing, 7:23;
Ekaterina Ananina (RUS) illegal hit, 9:10;
Iya Gavrilova (RUS) holding, 13:50;
Diana Bulatova (RUS) illegal hit, 16:00;
Maggie Litchfield-Medd (CAN) illegal hit, 16:00;
Mariia Pechnikova (RUS) hooking, 17:58.
2. RUS Anna Shokina (2) (Elana Dergacheva), 3:46
Ann Shchukina (RUS) slashing, 12:09;
Ann Shchukina (RUS) cross-checking, 14:52.
3. Breanna Lanceleve (1) (Alex Normore), 11:52 PP
4. Elena Dergacheva (2) (Anna Shokhina), 19:29 EN
Morgan McHaffie (CAN) hooking, 4:40;
Olga Sosina (RUS) slashing, 10:56;
Liudmila Belyaova (RUS) cross-checking, 15:37.
GOALS (by period)
CAN: 0-0-1: 1
RUS: 1-1-1: 3
SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)
CAN: 12-7-12: 31
RUS: 13-8-9: 30
CAN – Élodie Rousseau-Sirois (L, 0-1, 29 shots, 27 saves, 2 GA, 58:51)
CAN – Empty net (1:09)
RUS – Yulia Leskina (W, 2-0, 31 shots, 30 saves, 1 GA, 60:00)
REFEREE: Kaisa Ketonen (FIN)
LINESMEN: Liv Andersson (SWE), Brienne Stewart (USA)