Although only one game was played during the second day of the Capital City Challenge, it was an entertaining matchup between Team Red and the Canadian National Woman’s Team. Marie-Phillip Poulin and Natalie Spooner did not play in yesterday’s game, as they are saving their star players for today’s outing against Team Black.
The 7-0 result may suggest one story, but the actual gameplay told another, and the Canadian National Woman’s team could not capitalize on the chances they created. Let’s take a deeper look into what the eye test and numbers suggest from Saturday’s lone game.
Team Red Dominates Through Three Periods
To begin the first period, Nathan Baril, who plays for Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), scored on a powerful and accurate wrist shot. Then, Matthew Wood scored a highlight-reel goal in the first period by toe-dragging through the defensive core and placed a backhand shot over the shoulder of Emerance Maschmeyer. The Canadian National Woman’s Team began to apply more pressure and started to gain momentum, but Jocelyne Larocque took a hooking penalty with 4:48 remaining in the period. The ensuing powerplay for Team Red would feature two full minutes of offensive zone possession and high danger scoring chances.
Although they failed to score on the man advantage, it wouldn’t take long for Bradley Nadeau, who plays for the Penticton Vess in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), to score on a terrific pass from Carson Rehkpof. The score was 3-0 for Team Red, and the shots were 19-5 in favor of them, which would end up getting closer as the game continued.
During the postgame press conference, the team’s head coach Kris Mallette talked about how all four lines produced in this matchup and how he was satisfied with the group as a whole.
“It was great that we were able to score the first goal,” Mallette said. “Getting the production from all four lines is welcome for sure, and we have a quick turnaround tomorrow. Throughout the game at any given time, I thought a lot of those players shined.”
It was the beginning of a sensational night for Rehpkof, who plays for the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He scored a goal in the third period to make it 7-0, which saw him cut back deceptively and wire a wrist shot past the shoulder of Maschmeyer. Brayden Yager, the first-line center for the team, scored using his powerful one-timer after hitting the post on an earlier power play.
Canadian National Woman’s Team Showed Promise
They were shut out in this matchup and have only produced three goals through two games, but the team created more chances in the offensive zone and could not find any puck luck. It also did not help that they were shut down by Jackson Unger, who plays for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He was excellent at finding cross-seam passes, as the woman had multiple instances where they pressured and shot three or four times in a given sequence but couldn’t capitalize on them.
For a team missing their star players in Poulin and Spooner, as well as Jamie Lee Rattray, it was a closer game than the score suggested up until the third period. They were physically outmatched, but fourth-line winger Jill Saulnier, who plays for Montreal in the Professional Woman’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), had a few instances where she was up for the task. She stripped the puck using her stick in one-on-one board battles and was able to pass the puck in front of the net but was denied by Unger.
Jessie Eldrige, who plays for Toronto in the PWHPA, spoke during the postgame press conference on how Unger could shut them down and aspire to continue generating chances in the offensive zone and hopefully start to score on some of them.
“I’ll give credit to him [Unger]; I thought some nice saves tonight. I would be concerned if we weren’t generating those chances. We have a really close group in our room, and we believe that we can do what is needed to finish on those chances.”
The third day of the tournament is underway tonight, with two more preliminary matchups. Team Red is back in action early in the day, as they face off against Team White at 2:30 PM ET, while Team Black is battling the Canadian National’s Woman Team at 7 PM, all of them being played at TD Place Arena in Ottawa.
Jordan Jacklin is a freelance writer who covers the Buffalo Sabres here at The Hockey Writers. Jordan is a student at Ryerson’s Sport Media program and uses analytics and video scouting to evaluate your favourite players in the game.