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U SPORTS – ALMATY, Kazakhstan (U SPORTS) – The Canadian women’s hockey team dropped a 4-1 decision to Russia on Monday in the final of the Universiade tournament. While it’s not the outcome the U SPORTS all-stars were hoping for, the result still gave the red and white delegation its first medal of the 28th FISU Winter Games, with another podium guaranteed on Tuesday in women’s curling. 

Team Canada website: http://en.usports.ca/universiade/winter/2017/
Almaty 2017 website: https://almaty2017.com
Live streaming: www.livefisu.tv/  
Results, Statistics & Standings: http://www.fisu.net/results/winter-universiade/winter-universiade-2017-main-results

Other Canadian highlights on the 10th day of competition at the biennial multisport event included a 7-4 semifinal win over Sweden in women’s curling, as well as a top-10 finish by alpine skier Sandrine David of Montreal in the women’s slalom.

In women’s hockey, Canada settled for silver against Russia for the second straight Universiade. The Russians had prevailed 3-0 in the 2015 title match in Granada, Spain. The U SPORTS all-stars had previously won gold at each of the first three FISU tournaments in 2009 (Harbin, China), 2011 (Erzurum, Turkey) and 2013 (Trentino, Italy).

Special teams were the big story in Monday night’s contest. The Canadians went a stunning 0-for-14 on the power play – including almost eight minutes of 5-on-3 – while their opponents capitalized on two of their six opportunities with the man advantage.

Kelty Apperson, a St. Thomas University forward from New Hamburg, Ont., scored Canada’s lone goal at 11:12 of the second period to make it a 2-1 affair but the Russians restored their two-goal lead four minutes later, courtesy of team captain Olga Sosina, a two-time Olympian who scored twice and added one assist.

“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 Apperson, an assistant captain who finished the five-game tournament with three goals and seven points. “They played a strong defensive system. They were very aggressive on the PK.”

Making her third start in Almaty, University of Guelph netminder Valerie Lamenta of Montreal turned aside 32 pucks as Canada was outshot 36-26.

The game was played in front of a pro-Russia, standing-room only crowd of over 5,000 at Baluan Sholak Arena.

“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. “It was a tough environment to play in. We knew what to expect and were prepared for it. But it was still very hard to communicate on the ice and on the bench. I’m sure it was hard for Russia as well.

“I’m very proud of our girls. They played very well this week. Tonight, they left everything on the ice, they battled until the very last second.”

“Losing always stings. We were going out there for gold. It’s not the outcome we were looking for but I’m still very proud of every girl in that room and of the coaching staff,” said captain and defenceman Katelyn Gosling of London, Ont., one of two returning players from the 2015 Universiade, along with forward Daley Oddy. “We had a great tournament. We can hold our heads high for everything we’ve accomplished this week. Russia put up a good game. Hats off to them.”

In women’s curling, skip Kelsey Rocque of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and her foursome from the University of Alberta will play for gold Tuesday at 9 a.m. local (Sunday 10 p.m. EST) against Russia, a team they beat 7-4 in the preliminary round on Feb. 1.

The contest will be a rematch of the 2015 final in Spain, when Russia prevailed 9-8 in an extra end. Since curling made its Universiade debut in 2003, Canada has captured four medals in women’s competition, including gold in 2007 in Turin, Italy, and silver in 2015, 2009 and 2003.

Team Rocque was in control of its semifinal against Sweden from start to finish. After opening the scoring with one point in the second end, the Canadians stole one in the third to double their lead, scored a deuce in the fifth to make it 4-1, and put two more on the board in the seventh to increase their advantage to 6-2, eventually forcing their opponents to concede the match midway through the 10th.

In the other semifinal, Russia edged Switzerland 8-7 to advance to its fourth consecutive Universiade final and will be looking for its third straight FISU title on Tuesday. Skip Victoria Moiseeva was an alternate on the 2013 and 2015 gold medal-winning squads and skipped the Russian national team at the 2016 European championships.

“We played pretty well today. We got the breaks when we needed to. It was a solid win against a really good team, and it gives us even more confidence heading into the final,” said Rocque, who carried the Canadian flag into the Universiade opening ceremony back on Jan. 29. “It’s pretty crazy. I can’t say enough about the girls. They’ve been playing amazing all week and it’s a huge part of the reason we’re in the final. We’re very excited to bring home a medal for Canada. Hopefully it’s gold, but regardless, we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished this week.”

“The girls came out with a mission today. They knew they had to play very well because that young Swedish team is very talented. I’m extremely proud of them,” added coach Garry Coderre. “We still have one important game to go but, either way, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished at the Games. The girls will be ready to go tomorrow.”

In alpine skiing, it was a good day on the slopes for the Canadian women with four of them finishing the slalom in the top 26, including David in 10th position (1:34.28), Adrienne Poitras of Montreal one spot behind (1:34.80), Hannah Schmidt of Dunrobin, Ont., in 23rd place (1:37.51) and Frédérique Nolin of Quebec City in 26th (1:38.14).

Marie Desrosiers of L’Assomption, Que., was 26th after the first run but couldn’t complete the second. Maria Shkanova of Belarus claimed gold in 1:32.57.

David and Poitras were 10th and 11th after first runs of 46.34 and 46.43 seconds, respectively, and the University of Montreal teammates held their ground in the second leg of the race, posting times of 47.94 and 48.22.

Their results are the best so far in Almaty for the Canadian alpine team. Philippe Rivet of Saint-Lambert, Que., placed 12th in Saturday’s men’s giant slalom. The final alpine skiing event of the Games, the men’s slalom, is scheduled for Tuesday.

“I’m really happy. I’m not sure what my expectations were for today, but I’m really pleased with this top 10,” said David, who was also the top Canadian in the women’s giant slalom last Friday with a 26th-place finish. “For both Adrienne and I, the first run wasn’t as good. It was our first time on this course in slalom. The snow was super nice though and in the second race we both skied the way we’re capable of, and everything went very well.”

“I didn’t expect too much either when I got here. I was already very happy to be 11th after the first run. In the second run, we really followed the game plan,” added Poitras, who was 29th in the giant slalom three days ago. “In alpine skiing, you rarely have perfect runs, there are always some mistakes here and there. But overall, I’m very happy with how I did today.”

David and Poitras also wanted to highlight the performance of Desrosiers, another University of Montreal teammate.

“It’s a great day for the Carabins program,” said David, who had previously competed at the Winter Universiade in 2013 in Italy while attending André-Grasset College. “In addition to our 10th and 11th positions, Marie had a superb first run, moving up from 45th to 26th, but unfortunately she wasn’t able to finish the second.”
 
In cross country skiing, Canada took seventh place out of 10 participating countries in the women’s 3×5-kilometre relay and finished 11th out of 13 nations in the men’s 4×7.5 km relay.

In the women’s event, the trio of Christel Pichard-Jolicoeur of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., Shelby Dickey of Collingwood, Ont., and Kyla Vanderzwet of Port Elgin, Ont., was ninth after the first exchange, climbed to eighth at the second exchange and moved up one more spot at the finish line. The Canadians completed the race in 50:11.8, while Russia won in 42:25.1.

It was a similar scenario in the men’s relay as the foursome of Jordan Cascagnette of Pentetanguishene, Ont., Conor Thompson of Montreal, Carrington Pomeroy of Chelsea, Que., and William Dumas of Gatineau, Que., improved from 13th to 12th to 11th at the exchanges, before holding on to 11th place in 1:22:52.2. Russia prevailed in 1:12:49.3.

In men’s hockey, after a much-needed two-day break, Canada is back in action on Tuesday at 4 p.m. local (5 a.m. EST) for a semifinal rendez-vous with Russia. The game will be streamed live on www.livefisu.tv/.   

RESULTS FROM MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6

ALPINE SKIING

Women’s Slalom
1. Maria Shkanova, Belarus, 1:32.57; 2. Monica Huebner, Germany, 1:32.67; 3. Louise Jansson, Sweden, 1:32.80; 10. Sandrine David, Montreal, Que., 1:34.28; 11. Adrienne Poitras, Montreal, Que., 1:34.65; 23. Hannah Schmidt, Dunrobin, Ont., 1:37.51; 26. Frédérique Nolin, Quebec City, Que., 1:38.14; DNF Marie Desrosiers, L’Assomption, Que.

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

Women’s 3×5 km Relay
1. Russia, 42:25.1; 2. Kazakhstan, 43:17.2; 3. France, 44:11.2; 7. Canada (Christel Pichard-Jolicoeur, Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que.; Shelby Dickey, Collingwood, Ont.; Kyla Vanderzwet, Port Elgin, Ont.), 50:11.8.

Men’s 4×7.5 km Relay
1. Russia, 1:12:49.3; 2. Kazakhstan, 1:12:51.1; 3. Czech Republic, 1:14:51.8; 11. Canada (Jordan Cascagnette, Pentetanguishene, Ont.; Conor Thompson, Montreal, Que.; Carrington Pomeroy, Chelsea, Que.; William Dumas, Gatineau, Que.), 1:22:52.2.

CURLING

Women’s Semifinal

CAN    0 1 1 0 2 0 2 0 1 x – 7
SWE    0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 x – 4

Canada (8-2) advances to final, faces Russia (7-3) on Monday at 10 p.m. EST (Tuesday 9 a.m. local).

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

Canada (4-1) loses 4-1 vs. Russia (4-0) in final, claims silver medal, fifth medal since women’s hockey was added to the Universiade program in 2009 (gold in 2009, 2011, 2013; silver in 2015, 2017).

About the Winter Universiade
 
The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.

The Almaty Universiade will feature eight compulsory sports and four optional sports. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, cross country skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating and snowboarding. Optional sports: ski jumping, nordic combined, freestyle skiing and long-track speed skating.

About U SPORTS

U SPORTS is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit usports.ca or follow us on:

Twitter: @USPORTSca / @USPORTSIntl
Facebook: @USPORTSCanada / @USPORTSIntl
YouTube: @USPORTSca
Instagram: @USPORTSca
Snapchat: @USPORTSca

-U SPORTS-

For more information:

Michel Bélanger
Communications Manager
Team Canada
Cell in Almaty: (+) 774 7619 2403
belanger@usports.ca

Ken Saint-Eloy
Manager, Communications
U SPORTS
Cell: 647-871-7595
ksainteloy@usports.ca