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Canadian shes edge Finnish hes

Manitobans shine in under-18 tuneup

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KIRKKONUMMI, Finland -- It doesn't count in the standings, but it was a timely tuneup for coach Jim Fetter and Canada's under-18 women's hockey team.

The Canadian squad earned a 4-3 shootout win Wednesday over C2 Pojat, a Finnish boys team that's the equivalent of a bantam-level squad in Canada.

It was the final exhibition game for Canada leading up to the world under-18 event. The Canadians will face Hungary in the tournament opener for both teams Saturday.

"It's all about confidence, especially in the female game, which is going to help leading into (world championship)," said Fetter. "Overall, I thought it was a great game, very good competition.

"They really challenged our girls. They were quick, they were strong so our girls were battle-tested. It was a great game for us to play. Kudos to the boys team. They were very classy, they played with a lot of sportsmanship but also played hard and really tested us."

The contest was a close one as Canada took a one-goal lead on three separate occasions, only to have C2 Pojat come back to tie the score each time, including early in the third to force overtime.

Manitobans Ashleigh Brykaliuk of Brandon and Halli Krzyzaniak of Neepawa scored in regulation for Canada, as did Hanna Bunton. After the scoreless extra session, Karly Heffernan and Brykaliuk both scored in the shootout while C2 Pojat was stopped on both of its attempts.

Kimberly Newell and Jessica Dodds shared goaltending duties for Canada, combining to stop 42 shots in regulation and overtime.

Also on the Canadian team is Cassidy Carels from Bruxelles, Man.

The Canadian team will practise Thursday, then take Friday off to do some sightseeing in and around Helsinki before facing Hungary.

Canada is the defending champion.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2012 D4

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