PHOTO: Canada’s women celebrate a goal in their 6-0 win over Mexico at Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 on April 1st in West Vancouver (By Blair Shier)
After months of preparation and anticipation, Canada’s Women’s National Team opened Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 with a dominant 6-0 win over Mexico Saturday in West Vancouver, British Columbia.
Alex Thicke, who hails from nearby North Vancouver, British Columbia, scored twice in front of the pro-Canadian crowd, while fellow North Shore native Stephanie Norlander scored her 4th goal in as many games in the win.
“We definitely finished the ball,” Thicke said after the game. “We were moving the ball quick and we really executed our game plan, so we just want to take that and move it forward to our game against Chile tomorrow.”
Canada’s women continued where they left off in the pre-tournament series last week – during which they won 3 of 3 games – with snappy ball movement, resulting in a plethora of chances in the first few minutes.
Thicke opened the scoring in the 4th minute on a tic-tac-toe play which gave the Canadian fans something to cheer about early.
“It’s awesome,” she said of playing at home. “This is what we train for, and we’ve been training for this for over a year now, so it feels really good to have it here.”
After nearly picking up a second goal in the 8th minute on a Karli Johansen drag flick, the Canadians converted in the 9th minute when 17 year-old Jordyn Faiczak found Norlander at the doorstep for Canada’s second goal.
While not for a lack of chance in the first – Norlander nearly picked up two more in second quarter – the remaining four goals came in an entertaining second half, in which Canada continued its domination and scored fast and furious.
Captain Kate Wright converted in the 32nd minute as she received the ball at the edge of the circle and made a nice play to get around the Mexican keeper and put the ball in.
Sara McManus scored in the 45th, Thicke picked up her second in the 47th, and Brienne Stairs tallied in the 48th to round out the Canadian scoring.
“This team has been working hard for four years, and it’s good to be able to do that in front of everybody and show all that hard work and all that commitment and all that sacrifice, what it really looks like,” said Women’s National Team Head Coach Ian Rutledge.
“Our preparation into this tournament was good, and today was good as well. So I think it augers well for a good performance tomorrow.”
Canada takes on Chile in both teams’ second pool match Sunday at 4:30pm PT/7:30pm ET at Rutledge Field in West Vancouver.