PHOTO: Brienne Stairs scored four goals in Canada’s final match of Gryphon Hockey World League 2 against Mexico on April 9, 2017 in West Vancouver, BC (By Yan Huckendubler)
In its final match of the 2017 Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 in West Vancouver, Canada got four goals from Brienne Stairs and defeated Mexico 4-0 to take 5th place in the tournament.
Stairs’ four goal performance on Sunday gives her ten goals in the competition and all but assures her the award for Top Goal Scorer in West Vancouver.
Canada finishes the competition with back to back wins against Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico this week, and with a record of four wins and two losses overall.
“It was definitely pretty special to have a tournament like this at home,” says North Vancouver’s Karli Johansen, who was part of a group of players playing at home on the North Shore, and an even larger group that was playing at home in British Columbia for the first time. “Pretty heart breaking not to be where we wanted to be in the semi-final yesterday and the final today.
“I think we played really well as a team. Had some moments obviously that let us down but I’m really proud of everyone.”
In Sunday’s match, Canadian captain Kate Wright played in her 168th international match for Canada, tying her with Stephanie Jameson for the most games played for Canada’s Women’s National Team.
“It’s pretty special. I obviously know Steph J really well,” Wright says. “I played with her when I was first coming up through the ranks.
“To know that you can play 168 caps and come this far in the sport is pretty inspiring, and I hope to just keep inspiring all the younger kids out there.”
Wright and Canada’s women were hoping Sunday would look much different, with the two finalists moving on to World League Semi-Finals (Round 3) later this year and having an added chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Canada can still qualify for the World Cup later this year by winning the Pan American Cup.
“We were really disappointed not to be in that semi-final and working towards that final. But we really wanted to finish off and show everyone exactly how we play. I think we brought that to our last game against Trinidad and this game against Mexico.
“Moving forward we’re really going to take a deep breath and refocus. Our goals are not finished. There is still an opportunity to qualify for the World Cup through the Pan Am Cup and we’re looking to do that. So we’re going to put in a lot of hard work over this training block and come out firing in the summer.”
The Canadians will undoubtedly have mixed memories from Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 in West Vancouver, but the positives that will stand out include the opportunity to play on home soil, which is something that Canada does not get the chance to do very often.
“I definitely felt more excitement than pressure,” Johansen adds. “It was awesome to have all the fans who were so supportive win or lose. And definitely all the help with the field, the volunteers, it was pretty special.”