The delegation from the 2015 Canada Games Host Society takes a look back at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax.
Saskatchewan 3 – Quebec 4
Dartmouth, N.S. – It took an inspired comeback and an overtime period for Quebec to earn its second straight women’s hockey bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games, with a 4-3 win over Saskatchewan inside the Sportsplex on Saturday afternoon.
Quebec also won bronze at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Y.T., and has now won bronze four different times at the event, which takes place every four years. Quebec took silver medals in both 1999 and 2003, when the Games took place in Corner Brook, N.L. and Bathurst, N.B., respectively.
Although Quebec earned bronze in the end, Saskatchewan didn’t give it up easily, putting up a feisty fight on the ice in hopes of medalling in women’s hockey at the Games for that province’s first time since winning the silver medal in 1995 in Grand Prairie, Alta. Saskatchewan had a surprising but crowd-pleasing start to the game when Kennedy Ottenbreit-Daunheimer (Grayson, Sask.) put her team on the scoreboard midway through the first. Lauran Zary (Saskatoon, Sask.) notched another in the last minute of the period and Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask.) made it 3-0 at 8:51 in the second to give Saskatchewan a lead that made it look the bronze might belong to them.
But while the first half of the game starred Saskatchewan, the second half was all about Quebec, starting with a beautiful goal at 11:34 in the second from Gabrielle Davidson (Pointe Clare, Que.), who sent a shot flying high into the net, the puck hitting the post before crossing the Saskatchewan goal line. Vickie Lemire (Hudson, Que.) added a pretty goal of her own to the scoresheet at 6:40 in the third and Laurence Porlier (Maria, Que.) sent it into overtime at 9:48 in the third.
Saskatchewan continued to show its spunk and sass on the ice during the fourth period, but Davidson secured the bronze medal at just 2:20 in the period, resulting in tears of disappointment for the determined girls from the Prairies and tears of joy for the comeback team Quebec.
It was a battle of the top 2 seeds. Ontario’s Yen-Chun Lu and Zexuan Wang have already won the gold medal in the team event and boys’ double. Now, they will square off against each other in the gold medal match for boys’ singles.
Zexuan starts the match off strong by building leads of 3-1 and 6-2. Yen-Chun is not able to make up ground during the game as Zexuan wins game 1, 11-4. Now, its Yen-Chun strong play to take leads of 4-1 and 8-2. The 8-2 lead is too big for Zexuan to overcome and Yen-Chun wins 11-6 in game 2. With the match tied 1-1 and the gold medal awaiting the winner, the intensity goes up a couple notches.
Game 3 starts and Yen-Chun starts out up 3-0. Zexuan fights back and takes a 9-6 lead. Yen-Chun wins the next 2 points to make it 9-8 for Zexuan. With Zexuan feeling the pressure, he takes a time out. It proves to be a good move as Zexuan is able to win the game 11-9 and take a 2-1 game lead in the match.
Zexuan takes a 6-1 lead in the 4th game and it looks like he is well on his way to the gold medal. Yen-Chun, the one that shows more outward intensity, wins 7 out of the next 8 points to take a 8-7 lead. Zexuan wins the next point to tie it at 8 but Yen-Chun wins the next 3 points to win 11-8 in game 4. The match is now tied 2-2 and it is all down to one game and the winner takes the well earned gold medal. At this point, the crowd is well aware that these 2 athletes are as evenly matched as the score shows.
In the final game, Yen-Chun builds a 8-4 lead. Zexuan has the next 2 serves and Yen-Chun is unable to return either of them. Zexuan wins the next point when his last shot touches the net and Yen-Chun is unable to make the adjustment to return it. The score now is 8-7. Five points later, the match ends with a score of 11-8 and Yen-Chun, the top see, wins the gold medal in the 5th and deciding set.
In the end, the large and appreciative crowd got their monies worth out of the match and Yen-Chun Lu got his third gold medal of the 2011 Halifax Canada Games.
Teammates from British Columbia played for the bronze medal match in boys’ singles. They were Adrian Lee and Jeremy Lau. Similar to the gold medal match, the bronze medal match went to the 5th and deciding set to determine the winner. Adrian took control the match by winning the first 2 games with scores of 11-7 and 11-9. Jeremy was able to level the match at 2 by winning the next 2 games 14-12 and 11-8. In the 5th game, Adrian Lee was able to win 11-5 and win the bronze medal.
Ontario 2 – Alberta 3
Dartmouth, N.S. – What a game, what a way to end a week of women’s hockey at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, N.S.
After winning the first-ever gold medal for women’s hockey at the Games, held in Charlottetown, P.E.I. back in 1991, Alberta finally earned its way back to the top of the pack in Saturday night’s gold medal game at the Sportsplex, defeating four-time championship winning team Ontario 3-2 in a fast-paced, action-packed game.
Although neither team could put the puck in the net during the first, the second period saw Alberta earn a quick and comfortable lead, with two power-play goals within less than a minute of each other from Bryanne Panchuk (Calgary, Alta.) and Brittney Fouracres (Airdrie, Alta.). Panchuk made it 3-0 at 16:48 in the period, sending Ontario players and fans alike into a bit of a panic and Alberta players and fans into excited cheers that echoed throughout the arena.
It seemed as though Ontario regrouped during the second intermission, as the four-time gold medallists came out cool and collected in the third, determined to make it five straight at the Games. Cayley Mercer (Exeter, Ont.) got her team on the board at 4:03 and Emily Fulton (Stratford, Ont.) used a power-play to narrow the gap at 15:57 in the period.
But despite Ontario’s best efforts, four minutes simply wasn’t enough time for the team to notch another and earn an overtime period. Time ran out on the clock and the Albertans scrambled off their bench and onto the ice to let the celebrations commence.
With proud family members watching, and satisfied hockey fans filing out of the doors, the young girls from Alberta embraced their medals and each other after a well-deserved win at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Yukon 0 – New Brunswick 10
Dartmouth, N.S. – New Brunswick may have won its last matchup at the Canada Winter Games by a wide margin, with a 10-0 shutout over the Yukon in relegation action, but it wasn’t so much about the score on the board as it was about the positive attitudes of players on both squads Saturday inside the Sportsplex.
The teams fought hard on the ice, but they also had a lot of fun doing it, with the New Brunswick players encouraging the less experienced Yukon players and raising their sticks in respect and admiration of the determined little squad from up north at the end of the game. The teams also posed for photos and mugged for the camera together at the end of the game, in a true display of sportsmanship that won’t soon be forgotten.
Sam Bujold (Rothesay, N.B.), Anissa Gamble (Fredericton, N.B.) and Connor Garagan (Fredericton, N.B.) all contributed a couple of markers each, while Heather Braun (Plaster Rock, N.B.), Schyler Campbell (Rexton, N.B.), Leanne Gallant (Newbridge, N.B.) and Josée Léger (Cap Pelé, N.B.) had singles for New Brunswick.