Everyone in the Gold Coast Hockey Centre stood silently for a moment before today’s match. It was a powerful and moving scene as the fans, athletes, staff and officials honoured the victims of the Humbodlt Broncos Canadian junior ice hockey team’s fatal bus crash. Canadian players thanked the fans by raising their sticks above their heads, many of which had names and messages taped on in support of the Humboldt, Saskatchewan community.
Canadian defender Dani Hennig spoke about the moment on the field at the beginning of the game.
“It really hits close to home. All of us have travelled for various sports growing up and as adults,” Hennig said. “We wanted to do something today to show that even from across the world, they are in our hearts and that we are thinking of everyone in that community.”
The emotions were running high as the game got underway. Canada came into today’s game against Ghana needing a win to secure their spot as third in the pool. Canada didn’t waste much time getting on the board, as Brienne Stairs banged in a loose ball following a Canadian penalty corner.
Maddie Secco added to the lead in the second quarter finishing off a nice passing play that featured Kat Leahy and Amanda Woodcroft. Ghana made history in today’s match, scoring their country’s first goal in Commonwealth Games play. But the jubilation was short lived as Canada’s Dani Hennig buried a penalty corner drag flick one minute later.
Hennig, playing in her 150th international match, said scoring a goal at a major games on a major milestone day was a special experience. But, a true team player, she was first and foremost happy that the team was able to secure the win.
“Anytime I get to step on the field in the Canadian colours, it’s a special experience,” said Hennig. “I think we’ve played well all tournament so to finally get the result we wanted, it’s a nice feeling. And to get a goal in this game was just icing on the cake.”
It was all Canada in the final frame as Stairs and Kate Wright added the insurance markers to give Canada a 5-1 victory, punching their ticket into the fifth-place game. Head Coach, Giles Bonnet said the game wasn’t the prettiest to watch but they got the result they needed to get.
“It wasn’t our best game, but it didn’t have to be our best game,” he said following the teams victory over Ghana. “We stayed focus and did well moving the ball, which culminated in a great third and fourth quarter.”
The victory in tonight’s game secured Canada’s spot in the 5/6 placement game. Their opponent will be South Africa, a team Canada’s coach Giles Bonnet is all too familiar with. He coached the South African women’s national team from 2010-2014 and led them to the 2012 Olympic Games. Bonnet said he’s not overthinking his connection to his past team.
“It’s always an advantage to have worked with the team before,” he said. “…but this is about our team and executing the game plan. This is a final for us.”
Catch Team Canada take on South Africa LIVE on www.DAZN.com on Thursday April 12 at 9pm PDT.
Canada defeats Ghana in fourth round action at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo/Yan Huckendubler