MONTREAL, Que. – Kayla Friesen (Winnipeg, Man./St. Mary’s Academy, CAHS) scored twice and Ashton Bell (Deloraine, Man./Westman, MFMHL) had a goal and an assist as Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team fell 5-4 in a shootout to the CWHL’s Montreal Canadiennes on Monday.
The game was the first of two pre-tournament games for Canada ahead of the 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship; the Canadians face Sweden on Wednesday in St. Catharines, Ont. (3 p.m. ET/noon PT).
The Canadiennes, whose roster included four players who have represented Canada at the Olympic Winter Games – Charline Labonté, Caroline Ouellette, Marie-Philip Poulin and Lauriane Rougeau – proved to be a tough test for the young Canadians.
The exhibition contest featured plenty of special-teams work for Canada; the teams played long stretches at 5-on-3 and 5-on-4, and included a 10-minute overtime, all to get the national team ready for worlds.
Montreal held a wide advantage in shots on goal, 54-25, but it was Canada who took a big lead.
Bell got the ball rolling just 5:40 in when she tucked in a rebound off an Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) shot, and Saroya Tinker (Oshawa, Ont./Durham West, PWHL) made it a 2-0 lead with just over a minute left in the period after her shot rebounded off a Montreal defenseman and in.
Playing with an extra skater, Friesen gave Canada a three-goal lead 3:29 into the second period, beating Labonté over the glove.
Kim Deschênes got Montreal on the board at the midway mark, tapping in a rebound from in close, before Friesen gave Canada its three-goal lead back with her second of the game just 4:32 into the third period.
Canada tested out its penalty-killing unit through the final frame, and the result was a three-goal spurt from the Canadiennes that tied the game; Ann-Sophie Bettez, Katia Clement-Heydra and Cathy Chartrand converted with the man advantage in a span of 5:10 to make it 4-4.
After a scoreless 10-minute overtime, the teams headed to a shootout.
Canada sent Stephanie Neatby (Toronto, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) into the Montreal net to face her teammates and the result was a positive one – she stopped all three shooters she faced. On the other end, both Poulin and Clement-Heydra managed to get pucks past Édith D’Astous-Moreau (Laval, Que./Stanstead College, CAHS).