OLDS — Canadian national women’s hockey team head coach Troy Ryan says their game against the Olds Grizzlys was invaluable for them.
Ryan says they learned a lot during the Oct. 29 encounter at the Sportsplex which saw The Grizzlys win 7-1.
The game was one of four tune-up matches involving teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey league as Team Canada gets ready to compete for gold during the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held Feb. 4-20, 2022 in Beijing, China.
The first one was held Oct. 18 versus the Drumheller Dragons. The third was held Nov. 3 against the Camrose Kodiaks. The fourth will take place Jan. 10, 2022 versus the Calgary Canucks.
“From an on-ice perspective, the game gave us plenty of aspects to problem-solve and navigate through,” Ryan wrote in an email.
“From an evaluation perspective, we were pleased with about 10 minutes of play in the first period and were pleased with our third period. We worked hard to stay above them and were able to force turnovers and begin to generate some offence."
The coach said he was pretty satisfied with the way Team Canada played for about half the game. In the other half, “we made some uncharacteristic mistakes.”
“Not getting pucks out of our zone and not getting them deep will cost us no matter who we play against,” he wrote.
The score was basically irrelevant.
“These games are more about the process and what we are able to learn about ourselves by playing them,” Ryan wrote.
“Our decisions with the puck exposed ourselves and they were able to capitalize.”
“We know we have some work to do to be the best version of ourselves, but we are confident that when we play our way, we will continue to have success,” he added.
Ryan liked the atmosphere in the rink during the game.
“(It) Was great to see so many young girls and boys out to support Team Canada and their Olds Grizzlys,” he wrote. “We would like to thank the Olds Grizzlys organization for being great hosts and being part of our Olympic journey.”