2021 Worlds: Team Canada recap

Canada opens up the pre-Olympic season with a gold medal finish

After a great tournament, the Canadians ended up with their best finish in the past nine years at the Women’s World Championship, positioning themselves as the team to beat heading into the Olympic year.

How They Finished

With a perfect 6-0 record and a 3-2 overtime win over the United States in the final, Canada took home a gold medal at 2021 Worlds. It’s their first gold medal finish since 2012, when they also won in overtime against the U.S.

The Canadians couldn’t have asked for a better tournament—they were dominant for all but two periods in Calgary, crushed the Americans in a 5-1 rout in the round robin, and took home gold on home soil.

What Went Right

The short answer is, well, everything. Every line and D pair seemed to click, good in support and in their decision-making. Their young players were really, really good all tournament, and even those who saw limited ice time were reliable when they were out there. Their center depth was unmatched and a huge help when Marie-Philip Poulin was injured during the preliminary round.

But beyond that, I think what really went right for this team was their confidence and their poise. They weren’t easily shaken, and they didn’t try and over-adjust to every slight shift in momentum. After beating the Americans handily earlier in the tournament, Team Canada found themselves in a 2-0 hole after the first period of the gold medal game. Instead of panicking or losing some of their confidence, they simply trusted their game plan and stuck with it. They came back and tied it and won in overtime.

What Went Wrong

There were really no major hindrances for the Canadians at Worlds this year. The power play, though, stands out as an area that could be improved. They converted at 14.81% with the player advantage—not a great rate for the skill that they have. They’ll have plenty of time this season to try some different tactics and bring different players into the mix. With their defenders playing so well, that might open up some new options.

Blayre Turnbull also went down with a fractured fibula, although that technically happened after the final horn sounded. She’s a key player for the Canadians, so that’s definitely not the best news, but TSN’s Meaghen Johnson is reporting she’ll only be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.

What Comes Next

Canada will stay centralized for this upcoming season in preparation for the Beijing Olympics in February. They’ll play a slate of games against Team USA and possibly some exhibition games against Finland as well. So far, two games against the U.S. have been announced: Oct. 22 in Allentown, Pa., and Oct. 25 in Hartford, Conn.

MVP: Mélodie Daoust

Who else could it be but Daoust? She was brilliant all tournament long, seemingly head and shoulders above everyone else, even on a roster that was stacked and playing to its potential. She led Worlds in scoring with six goals, six assists, and 12 points, and was named MVP of the tournament for her efforts. She was a threat every time she touched the ice—and more often than not, she made those chances count.

It also feels apt to mention both Poulin and Jocelyne Larocque here, too. Along with playing great two-way hockey and making plays that basically nobody else in the world can make, Poulin was Canada’s golden goal scorer once again. And Larocque was very solid on the blue line, providing the right mixture of calm and intensity and setting a good tone for some of the younger defenders on the squad.