International relations, Warrior style

Coming off a huge weekend in which the Warriors earned four points, including a 1–0 OT upset over the Guelph Gryphons, the Warriors played an exhibition against a special guest, Team China, Nov. 16.

The Warriors won the decision 4–0 over China with Stephanie Sluys, Jamie Grove, and Rebecca Bouwhuis each playing a period earning the combined shutout. Including this exhibition game, it’s now been over 183 minutes since the opposition have put a puck into the Warriors’ net. Jamie Grove, who doesn’t start often, made a number of key saves during the second period in order to keep the Warriors ahead.

Yuqing Wang served as the backstop for China at the opposite end of the ice stopping 29 of 33 shots sent her way.

The Columbia Icefield sported a new look on this day with the Chinese flag hanging along the Canadian and Warriors flags, and it heard a new anthem ring through its cedar rafters, the March of the Volunteers.

While there was certainly excitement in the air surrounding the game, it didn’t break the Warriors off their game. “It’s never hard to keep this group focused,” said Warriors head coach Shaun Reagan. “In fact, it was hard to get them to take the reins off China and get them to play a defensive trap,” Reagan said of the later stages of the game.

Rachel Marriott earned her first points since returning to the lineup after missing several weeks due to injury. Last year’s OUA Rookie of the Year had a goal and two assists in the victory, and while the points won’t count in league play, surely they’re a confidence booster.

Both teams spoke highly of the opportunity at the friendly exhibition. “It’s a great opportunity for our student athletes to play a national team,” said Regan. “Some of them will probably never get that opportunity again.”

The Chinese captain, Minghui Kong, also spoke positively of the experience. “It was a very good experience,” the captain translated through arena PA announcer In-Ting Ho. “I thought we played well.”

China began their tour of North America Sept. 20, traveling the area to play a variety of teams. “We came to Canada to improve our level of play,” said Kong. “Canada is well known for their hockey ability and we’re looking to improve through playing them.”

Maryn Caragata, Angela MacDonald, and Marissa Redmond also scored for the Warriors’ victory.