Canadian women take world ball hockey gold

Robin
Robin Short
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Deer Lake native Dawn Tulk scores twice in title-clinching shutout win over Slovakia

Members of Team Canada hoist the 2013 World Ball Hockey Championships trophy following their 2-0 gold medal win over Team Slovakia at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay on Sunday afternoon — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The hometown girls starred under the spotlight Sunday afternoon, but things didn't go quite as planned for the local boys as the 2013 World Ball Hockey Championships wrapped up Sunday afternoon in metro St. John's.

At the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay, Dawn Tulk of Deer Lake scored both of Canada's goals and Kristen Cooze of Kippens assisted on them as the host country blanked Slovakia 2-0 to win Canada's third gold medal in five years at the worlds (Slovakia won the other two).

Meanwhile, at the Glacier in Mount Pearl, the Canadian men thumped Portugal 7-3 to win the bronze - not the colour Canada had been shooting for at the worlds. A 5-1 loss to the Czech Republic in semifinal play Saturday dashed any hopes of Canada winning a sixth world championship.

Tulk and Cooze aren't the only Newfoundlanders on the triumphant women's team. They were joined by Amanda Kean of St. Anthony and assistant coach Tom Walsh of Clarenville.

Tulk, Cooze and Kean were scouted at the women's ball hockey nationals last summer in Edmonton where Newfoundland won the gold medal in the B pool. From there, they were named to Canada's roster.

"To win a gold medal in the world championship, in your home province, is very special," said the 22-year-old Tulk, who graduated from Memorial University with a physical education degree, but will return to MUN to complete an education degree. "Each of us had a huge cheering section today, which was quite something."

Canada's win avenged a loss to Slovakia at the 2011 world championship in Slovakia (Canada won in 2007 and '09).

Fourteen members from the 2011 team returned to this year's club, and Tulk said it wasn't long before the newcomers understood how badly the returnees wanted to beat the Slovaks.

"It's the whole Team Canada attitude and experience," she said. "Actually, the first couple of practices were pretty overwhelming. To put on a Team Canada jersey is amazing."

Canada went 3-0 in the round-robin, outscoring the opposition 31-0. The Canadians thumped the Swiss 15-1 and the Americans 8-0 in the playoffs.

"It's going to be a sad day Monday when the team breaks up and everyone heads in different directions," Tulk said. "A lot of us came together not knowing anybody, and now here we are a week later and we're like family.

"So we're going to enjoy this moment tonight (Sunday)."

It was a much different story at The Glacier Sunday as a disappointed Canadian men's team accepted their bronze medals.

Canada steamrolled the opposition in the round-robin, reeling off four wins and outscoring their opponents 26-5.

But their march to gold hit a roadblock Saturday night against the Czechs, who scored two goals each in the first and second periods while Canada could only manage to get on the scoreboard in the third.

"After last night's game, a debacle if you will," said veteran Canadian forward Terry Ryan of Mount Pearl, "it was really, really tough to get up for today's game.

"But we did a good job putting it in perspective, that we're playing for a medal, to go out there and get the job done. But, at the same time, we're home, it's hockey, or ball hockey, it's Canada ... it's not the gold medal."

Ryan and his teammates were particularly miffed with Saturday night's game, not only with the result but how the Czech secured the win.

"Look, I'm a big boy," Ryan said. "They beat us, we lost, and it's not sour grapes. But the way they went about it, using diving as a tactic, was unfortunate for the fans and for the sport of ball hockey.

"We prepared for the game with video and X's and O's, and they come out diving everywhere. It's very, very frustrating."

The frustration reached a boiling point with one second to go in the game when Justin Pender of St. John's, a pro hockey player in the ECHL the past four seasons, picked up a pair of five-minute match penalties.

One of the referees suffered a leg injury in the fracus, and Pender, who is likely facing suspension, did not dress in the bronze-medal game.

In Sunday's game, Chris Sparkes of St. John's had two goals, and Robert Slaney of Upper Island Cove registered three assists for Canada. Ryan had a pair of helpers. Other Newfoundlanders on the Canadian squad included Patrick O'Keefe of Mount Pearl, Jordan Escott of St. John's and Andrew Sweetland of Bonavista.

Slovakia beat the two-time defending champion Czechs 2-1 for the gold medal Sunday. Canada has won the tournament five times, the Czechs three times and the Slovaks twice.

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Team Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Slovakia, St. John's Deer Lake Mount Pearl Czech Republic Torbay St. Anthony Edmonton Newfoundland MUN Upper Island Cove

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  • Steve
    June 10, 2013 - 12:10

    I watched the Can vs Slovakia game, and Pender was an embarrassment that game too! He really made, not only Canada, but NL ball hockey players look bad. The guy needs to learn how to control himself, and take a penalty. Every time he was called during Slovakia, he was quite sooky in the penalty box.