Kamloops goaltender Kendra Woodland won the starting gig and backstopped Canada to gold at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter World University Games.
“Pulling on a Canadian jersey and getting a gold medal around your neck is definitely an amazing feeling,” said Woodland, the 22-year-old Westsyde secondary graduate who toils for the New Brunswick Reds in the U Sports ranks.
“I’ve never won a gold medal wearing a Canadian jersey. Yeah, it’s pretty indescribable.”
Woodland posted a 12-save shutout in a 5-0 victory over Japan in the title tilt, which took place on Saturday in the Lake Placid Olympic Centre in Lake Placid, New York.
Canada carried three goaltenders at the collegiate multi-sport Games, with netminders Woodland, Camryn Drever of the University of Saskatchewan and Aurelie Dubuc of the University of Ottawa splitting time in the preliminary round.
“It was all healthy competition, battling for getting starts,” Woodland said. “They were awesome teammates. It was great to have different goalies from different conferences from within U Sports to compete against to see what the caliber is like across Canada.”
Canada posted a 5-0 mark in the preliminary round, besting Slovakia 4-0, Czechia 5-1, Japan 6-0, Great Britain 14-0 and the U.S. 2-1. The loss to Canada in the round-robin finale dashed the Americans’ aspirations of reaching the playoffs.
“Going 5-0 in the round-robin, that was kind of the moment where, moving into the semis, we were pretty confident we could get the job done,” Woodland said.
The Kamloopsian got the nod to start against Slovakia on Friday in the semifinal round and turned aside 20 shots in a 6-1 win at the Olympic Center to cement her job for the gold-medal game.
“It was a sense of the Olympics,” Woodland said. “It was really, really cool to get that taste at the university level.
“It’s pretty amazing.”