The Red Deer Optimist Chiefs learned some valuable lessons Saturday night, according to their head coach.
The Chiefs were dominated in a 5-1 loss to Canada’s National Women’s Team in front of nearly 2,000 fans at the Enmax Centrium.
“I was a little disappointed with how we played,” Chiefs Doug Quinn said. “I know it’s a little bit different than what we’re used to so I didn’t like how we responded. But saying that, I talked to our team about it being a big learning experience as far as a team game and how the other team played.”
The learning started 12:39 into period one when Bailey Bram opened the scoring for Team Canada. Just less than four minutes later, Jennifer Wakefield made it 2-0.
Sean Michalevich got the Chiefs on the board in the final minute of the opening period as he snuck one past Team Canada netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens.
Period two was just 54 seconds old when Marie-Philip Poulin put Team Canada up 3-1.
Duncan Hughes started between the pipes for the Chiefs before giving way to Bretton Park midway through the second period.
Natalie Spooner put the game out of reach when she finished off a great two on one with Blayre Turnbull at 15:56 of the middle frame.
Sarah Potomak rounded out the scoring 4:11 into period three.
“They really moved the puck well. They played great defence and back pressured really well, all the things that I want my team to do,” Quinn commented.
“I was trying to prepare them for how they needed to play. I know there’s no body checking, but that doesn’t mean there’s no body contact and I thought we played real tentative and real soft,” he added.
Quinn credited Team Canada for being strong on the puck and bringing a physical edge to their game.
“It was an opportunity for us to learn how good it can be when you maybe don’t have the size and strength but work hard and compete.”
For Team Canada, Poulin and Spooner were both pleased with how their squad performed on the night, and to have played in front of such a large crowd in Red Deer, many of who were young girls who came to see their hockey idols...
Two points in the Alberta Midget Hockey League standings were at stake for the Chiefs, who had gone 12 games without a loss prior to Saturday. They are right back in action Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Kinex Arena vs. Edmonton Maple Leaf Athletic Club.
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