Poulin ready for Worlds
Poulin ready for Worlds
Canadians hoping to avenge last year’s loss to U.S.
After last year’s silver-medal performance at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on home ice in Kamloops, B.C., they aim at gold in Plymouth, Michigan.
Last April Canada fell 1-0 in overtime as the Americans won a third consecutive gold medal.
“I think we all know every time we play the U.S., it’s always a tough game, always competitive,” said Poulin. “It was a tough loss, especially in overtime. I think we knew it was going to be a tough game.
“But the December series went really well. We had two wins against them and I think we have to build from that. I know the World Championship (last year) didn’t go our way, but hopefully we’re going to get on the right track and build towards the World Championship.”
Poulin contributed a goal and two assists in Canada’s two victories over the U.S. in December. The Canadians won 5-3 in Plymouth and then edged the Americans 3-2 in overtime in Sarnia, Ontario.
The two-game series also gave head coach Laura Schuler an opportunity to have a look at younger players, including 17-year-olds Sophie Shirley and Amy Potomak and Amy’s 19-year-old sister Sarah Potomak.
“There’s a lot of new faces,” Poulin said. “The younger ones coming up are so good and it keeps you on your toes. They’re really good, they’re good kids and having them around, having them experience that competitiveness, that’s always awesome.”
The World Championship also gives Poulin an opportunity to see how far other nations have grown their respective hockey program.
Though every gold medal game at the women’s worlds dating back to 1990 have featured Canada and the U.S. – an exception was the 2006 Olympic final where Canada played Sweden for gold –, the 25-year-old Beauceville, Quebec native considers Finland to be the next biggest threat.
“Every time we play Finland, we know they’re coming up,” she said. “Every game is going to be a tough one and we’re going to have to be aware of that and you can see other teams too are coming up. Women’s hockey is growing, not only in Canada and the U.S., but around the world and I think that’s quite awesome to see and being able to experience that.
“We know every game is going to be intense type of games. We know (women’s hockey) is known for Canada-U.S., but we’ve got to be aware of other countries because they’re coming up too.”
Known as the Sidney Crosby of women’s hockey having scored the winners in both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medal games as well as in domestic play in the CWHL, Poulin says she learned to elevate her game when it matters most from veteran Caroline Ouellette.
Ouellette a 37-year-old from Montreal is a four-time Olympic gold medallist and has won gold at six world championships.
“She always really sparked me just in her play and as I grew up, I got to know her as a person,” Poulin said. “I see her hockey career, how passionate she is, how hard she works and how she always wants to be the best - she’s so competitive.
“I got to know her off the ice, and that’s just as amazing, to be honest. She’s a genuine, humble, kind and caring person. Every time I’m around her, I learn something.”
With the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea less than a year away, Poulin is hoping to add another gold to her medal count on the biggest stage.
“For sure, it’s another dream of mine to be there,” said Poulin. “Hopefully I’m going to keep working hard and keep getting better everyday. For sure, I think when you see the five ring sign, my eyes spark and my heart starts racing because that’s where I want to be, that’s where you want to be: you want to represent your country at the highest level and that’s what it is for us.”
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