Woodland inspired by Team Canada experience

Kendra Woodland sounded emboldened.

The 19-year-old goaltender from Kamloops spoke to KTW on Monday night, a few days after backstopping Canada to a 2-1 victory over the U.S. in Game 3 of an under-22 national women’s development team series on Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

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“I want to be on an Olympic sheet of ice,” said Woodland, who had a stellar rookie season playing for the University of New Brunswick Reds in 2018-2019.

“After that win ... it didn’t really occur to me before that this isn’t far out of reach. But you still have to work as hard as you can every single day.”

Woodland started Game 1 of the series last Wednesday and allowed four goals on 26 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss. Two of the U.S. goals, including the OT winner, were power-play markers.

“I wouldn’t say it didn’t start so well,” said Woodland, a Westsyde secondary graduate.

“Being in that game to start was just, again, an unbelievable feeling. Last time in Lake Placid, I didn’t get the chance to play or start.

“Even though we lost the first game, I think it taught me a lot as a player, that things don’t come easy and it’s just another step in the learning process.”

Woodland was one of three goalies selected for the under-18 Team Canada roster for a three-game series against the U.S. in Lake Placid in 2017, but she never saw the ice.

She made her national team debut at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Women’s Hockey Championship in Dmitrov, Russia — a 4-0 shutout victory over Sweden in round-robin play.

That high was followed by the low of being pulled in a 6-2 round-robin loss to the U.S.

She did not see the net again at U18 worlds and was not invited to try out for the Canadian team that competed against the U.S. in the 2018 under-22 Lake Placid series last summer.

Woodland then focused on her rookie season with the Reds and did not disappoint, posting a 1.73 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in 23 games.

She recorded a 9-12 record and helped a rookie-laden team — 17 of 22 players were in their first year of eligibility; UNB was icing its first women’s hockey team since 2007-2008 — place fourth in the Atlantic University Sport division.

The Reds were ousted in the AUS semifinal by the eventual conference champions, the St. Thomas Tommies of Fredericton.

The impressive campaign led to a tryout for this year’s U22 series in Lake Placid.

Canada started Kelsey Roberts of Kitimat between the pipes for Game 2, which the Americans won 4-2 last Thursday. Roberts allowed four goals on 26 shots.

“On Friday, we had a practice,” Woodland said. “That was kind of my last chance to show that I wanted it, that I could be there and be that starter.”

She earned the nod for Game 3 and was able to avenge the defeat to the Americans at last year’s U18 world championship.

“It was my first win against the USA and it’s the biggest rivalry in hockey history,” Woodland said. “To get the win with the Maple Leaf on, and listening to that national anthem, it’s a different feeling and it’s something that drives me to be a better hockey player and push myself every day to work towards that Olympic dream.”

© Kamloops This Week


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