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2018 Four Nations Preview: Canada

Fourteen 2018 silver medalists are looking for gold in Saskatoon

Olympics: Ice Hockey-Women Team Final - USA-CAN Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Hockey Canada has claimed gold in the Four Nations Cup 14 times since the first tournament in 1996. However, the last gold was in 2014, the same year Canada took home its fourth-straight Olympic gold medal.

One thing remains: a rivalry with that other North American country, the United States. Canada has a nice mix of veterans and younger talent looking to earn a 15th Four Nations title next month in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Additionally, the Four Nations Cup will be one of several evaluation tools ahead of the 2019 IIHF World Championships in April.

Schedule

Canada will play an exhibition game against Finland on Nov. 4.

Preliminary

  • Tuesday Nov. 6 | Canada vs Sweden - 7 p.m. CST
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7 | Canada vs USA - 7 p.m. CST
  • Friday, Nov. 9 | Canada vs Finland - 7:30 p.m. CST

Medal Games

  • Saturday, Nov. 10 | Bronze and Gold Medal Games - 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. CST

Storylines

Like the United States, Canada will have a different coach from the 2018 Winter Games. Perry Pearn will serve as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Team at the Four Nations Cup. The recently retired Caroline Ouellette is one of four assistants also brought in for the Saskatoon tournament. Ouellette is currently coaching at Concordia College, as well as her former CWHL club team Les Canadiennes de Montreal.

In addition to a new coaching staff, Canada will break in five new players to the roster. Shea Tiley, Jaime Bourbonnais, Sarah Fillier, Lauren Gabel, and Katelyn Gosling will compete in their first Four Nations Cup.

Seven skaters and two goalies from the silver medal winning team are absent from the 4 Nation Cup roster. Goaltenders Geneviève Lacasse and Ann-Renée Desbiens, defenders Brigette Laquette, Lauriane Rougeau, Meaghan Mikkelson, and forwards Jennifer Wakefield, Bailey Bram, Haley Irwin, Blayre Turnbull are absent from the November roster.

Roster

Canada’s roster

# Player Position # Player Position
# Player Position # Player Position
6 Rebecca Johnston Forward 3 Jocelyne Larocque Defence
7 Laura Stacey Forward 8 Laura Fortino Defence
10 Sarah Fillier Forward 14 Renata Fast Defence
11 Jillian Saulnier Forward 18 Halli Krzyzaniak Defence
15 Mélodie Daoust Forward 25 Jaime Bourbonnais Defence
19 Brianne Jenner Forward 28 Micah Zandee-Hart Defence
20 Sarah Nurse Forward 45 Katelyn Gosling Defence
24 Natalie Spooner Forward 1 Shannon Szabados Goaltender
29 Marie-Philip Poulin Forward 30 Shea Tiley Goaltender
36 Loren Gabel Forward 38 Emerance Maschmeyer Goaltender
40 Blayre Turnbull Forward
43 Kristin O’Neill Forward
47 Jamie Lee Rattray Forward

Players to Watch

Sarah Fillier

The youngest player on the roster in Princeton University freshman Sarah Fillier. She has eight points (1G, 7A) in her first four collegiate games. “Sarah is one of the best 200-foot players in North America. She sees the game at an elite level and is often one step ahead of her opponents. She contributes in all areas of the game,” said Tigers head coach Cara Morey.

Goaltenders

For the third player to watch, I’ve bent the rules a bit. it’s not so much one player as it is one position: goaltender. While we will likely see a fair share of Shannon Szabados in net, the decision on how to split time among the three netminders will be interesting to watch. Emerance Maschmeyer has been in and out the Hockey Canada senior team, while Shea Tiley is making her first appearance with the senior team.

Overall, I am most curious to see how Tiley is utilized by coach Pearn.

Prediction

It’s hard to argue that Canada is not in contention for gold at the Four Nations Cup. The team narrowly missed another Olympic gold medal, falling to the United States after a six-round shootout to determine the winner.

While the game ended in drama, the lead-up to overtime and eventually the shootout was not the best brand of Canadian hockey we’ve ever seen. Yes, the goal is always to win, but just as important for this team is reestablishing culture. Injuries, retirements, and pregnancies have opened the door for a few new faces.

The blend of active Canadian legends like captain Marie-Philip Poulin and Shannon Szabados, mixed with up and coming stars like Sarah Nurse will certainly help grow an already elite hockey program.

All that said, will it be enough to overcome the reigning Olympic gold medalists?

Yes. I give the edge to team Canada on friendly ice. For both Canada and the United States, I am curious to see how coaching plays a factor.