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2019 Worlds Recap: Canada

A disappointing finish, but a bright future

Canada v United States Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Tournament Finish

Canada claimed bronze after defeating Russia 7-0. It was the first time in 19 World Championships that Team Canada had not finished with either the gold or silver medal.

Record

Canada finished the tournament with a 5-2-0 record.

Recap

The big question for Canada heading into the 2019 Worlds was the status of team captain Marie-Philip Poulin. After sitting out the first two games of the tournament, Poulin skated just 4:44 against Russia on April 8 before she was shut down after appearing to aggravate the injury that held her out of the 2019 Clarkson Cup Playoffs.

In the group stage, Canada completely outclassed Russia, Switzerland, and Finland but were defeated by Team USA by a score of 3-2 on April 6. Canada had the best penalty kill in Group A and some of the best goaltending of the tournament after the group stage. Their 45.0 shots for per 60 minutes (SF60) after the group stage led all ten teams in the tournament, which was a testament to the depth of Canada’s offense with Poulin out of the lineup.

After making quick work of Germany in the quarterfinals with a 5-0 victory, Canada fell to Finland in the semifinals by a score of 4-2. The same penalty killing unit that led the pack after the group stage allowed two costly power play goals after Jamie Lee Rattray gave Canada a 1-0 lead 2:32 into the first period. Canada outshot Finland 45-19 in that historic semifinal defeat, but the top line was unable to crack Noora Räty. With the goalie pulled and down by a single goal, Canada’s bench watched in horror as Ronja Savolainen buried an empty-net goal to give Finland a 4-2 lead with 38 seconds left in regulation. There was no comeback; Finland advanced to the gold medal game.

Canada found a way to rally the very next day in the bronze medal game against Russia. They bombarded the Russian net with 41 shots while allowing only six shots on goal against. The Canadians prevailed 7-0. Seven different players had two-point games to secure the bronze medal for Canada.

Standouts

  • Natalie Spooner (F) - With Poulin sidelined by her injury, head coach Perry Pearn needed his veterans to step up and Spooner stepped up in a big way. She averaged 17:19 TOI/GP and led Canada with 10 points in seven games. Nine of her 10 points were primary and seven of them were scored at even strength. Spooner also scored three of Canada’s nine power play goals, which made her the tournament leader in power play goals.
  • Brianne Jenner (F) - Jenner wore the “C” for Canada after Poulin was shut down for the rest of the Worlds. Just like Spooner, she definitely rose to the occasion. She finished the tournament with nine points, which was second on Team Canada behind only Spooner. Jenner also led the way for Canada with 31 shots on goal and won 69.67 percent of her faceoffs.
  • Jamie Lee Rattray (F) - Rattray, who returned to the national team after not making the cut for the 2017 Worlds and the 2018 Olympics, finished third on Canada with her four goals. What makes that accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that she averaged 9:21 TOI/GP. Rattray also picked up three primary assists, which made her primary scoring rate per 60 minutes (P1/60) the best in the tournament. Her 5.50 P1/60 was a cut above Hilary Knight’s 5.24 P1/60.

The Future

Despite the fact that Canada had the second-oldest team in Finland, there was plenty of evidence that the pipeline of Canadian talent is as strong as ever. Canada’s eight skaters under the age of 25 scored a combined 14 goals in the 2019 Worlds. That was 42.42 percent of Team Canada’s goals. As you might expect, some of Canada’s youngest stars shined brighter than others.

Loren Gabel, the winner of the 2019 Patty Kazmaier Award, was a relentless force of offense for Team Canada. She buried six goals and picked up one primary assist — all at even strength — while averaging 14:27 TOI/GP. No other skater at the 2019 Worlds under the age of 22 scored more than three goals. As if her goal total wasn’t enough evidence of her talents as a sniper, Gabel also finished second on Canada with 30 shots on goal; that’s 17.78 shots on goal per 60 minutes (iSF60).

Another young forward who had a big tournament for Canada was Sarah Nurse. Nurse had four primary points at even strength and picked up another three points — two primary — on the power play. She averaged 3.43 shots per game and finished sixth in scoring among all skaters at the 2019 Worlds. It was a statement performance for Nurse after she was cut from Team Canada’s roster for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer finished the tournament with two wins and a .923 save percentage. Maschmeyer, 24, had a nine-save shutout against Germany in the quarterfinals after stopping 27 of the 30 shots she faced in Canada’s 3-2 loss against USA. It’s also worth noting that one of the three goals she allowed in that game was scored on Team USA’s power play. Maschmeyer’s 19.50 shots against per 60 minutes (SA60) was the highest among Canada’s three goaltenders, which illustrates the impact she made in the 120 minutes she played in Finland.

All data courtesy of IIHF.com, eliteprospects.com, and the author’s own tracking.