(Photo: Lorena Angus)
After travel, training, and matches on back-to-back days, the Canadian Under-21 Women’s National Team enjoyed two rest days in Chile Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday, the women visited town of Valparaiso, where they took in the beautiful sights and sounds of the Chilean coast.
The rest days were well earned, after the team earned a split in its first two games with Chile Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We had a really good game actually,” says Canadian Junior Women’s National Team head coach Steph Andrews of the first match. “We put them under pressure pretty early and turned them over quite a bit.”
Two goals from forward Lindsay Cole (Victoria, BC) led Canada to the 2-0 win on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, in the second match, Canada got off to a good start once again, with a first half goal from Jaslan Stirling (Mississauga, ON).
Chile, however, was able to battle back and score three second half goals for the 3-1 win. Despite the loss, Andrews is pleased with the team’s performance so far.
“They’re impressive. They move the ball really well,” she says. “Their skill level is really good. It’s now just getting experience of playing matches and playing together.”
The Canadian women are in Santiago, Chile for a seven match series against the host Chileans in preparation for a 2016 Junior World Cup qualifier in Trinidad and Tobago in March.
The Chile series is the first time this group of women has played together, outside of training camps, and is important for the team to develop chemistry before the qualifier.
“Playing international hockey is a lot faster,” adds Andrews. “Playing seven matches gives us the opportunity to gauge and develop consistency.”
“We’re trying to play consistent, good, fast, attacking, hockey. That’s always a challenge when we haven’t played regularly.”
The women will have ample opportunity to develop that brand of hockey over the next week, with five games remaining in the series.
The next two matches take place Saturday and Sunday before a rest day Monday and the final three matches on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.