Even though current U.S. women’s college players made up less than one third of the 40 players selected for two Canadian teams at Hockey Canada’s Thanksgiving Festival, they accounted for four of Canada’s eight player of the game awards between Wisconsin senior Carla MacLeod, Dartmouth junior Katie Weatherston, Minnesota-Duluth senior Caroline Ouellette and Ohio State sophomore Tessa Bonhomme.
The Thanksgiving Festival, whose primary purpose is to serve as an evaluation camp for the Canadian national team next month, featured a round-robin of the Russian and Swedish national teams plus two Canadian teams nicknamed Red and White. Medal games were played on the final day.
Ouellette was the most dominant player in the tournament, leading Canada White with five goals and three assists. More importantly, she scored the game-winning goal from Dartmouth junior Gillian Apps in Canada White’s 5-4 victory over Canada Red in the gold medal game. She also earned player of the game honors for her hat trick in a 9-1 win over Russia.
Bonhomme was an unstoppable force throughout the tournament on the power play for Canada White, as she finished with a goal and four assists through the four games. She earned player of the game in the gold medal final after scoring Canada’s first goal on a power play shot from the point and assisting on the fourth.
Weatherston finished with three goals and two assists for the tournament, and she was named player of the game with a two-goal effort for Canada White in a 5-0 win over Sweden, though she was limited to just one assist in the two games against Canada Red.
MacLeod’s two assist effort and defensive prowess earned her player of the game honors in a 12-0 Canada Red victory over Russia.
Other U.S. college standouts in the tournament were Apps and Harvard freshman Sarah Vaillancourt, who each had a goal and an assist. Niagara freshman Ashley Riggs finished with an assist and two goals, including one in the gold medal game. The Dartmouth pair of Meagan Walton and Cherie Piper and the UMD pair of Krista McArthur and Noemie Marin each had a single assist for the week.
The Canadian national team will next be in action from Nov. 10-14 for the Four Nations Cup, hosted by the United States in Lake Placid and Burlington. The event will feature Finland, Sweden, and the first showdown between the U.S. and Canadian senior national teams since the 2004 World Championships in Halifax.