Canadian fans applaud German goaltender

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

Viona Harrer's occupation is listed as "soldier" in the German media guide for the world championship.

The 20-year-old goaltender was certainly the last line of defence -- make that the only line of defence -- against Team Canada last night.

Facing a lineup stacked with snipers, Harrer single-handedly held the German fort as long as she could, facing 68 shots and eventually running up the white flag in an 8-0 Canadian victory.

"It was exhausting," Harrer said after the game. "It was one of my best games. You say, 'You're a wall. They won't score.' And you hope they don't."

While her counterpart in the Team Canada net, Kim St-Pierre, could have taken a nap during the game -- St-Pierre faced just five pucks all night -- Harrer was bombarded, often from point-blank range.

Incredibly, her team trailed just 3-0 well past the midway point of the second, before Canada finally pulled away.

"She probably had the game of her life," Canada's Delaney Collins said. "She stood on her head."

The pro-Canadian crowd of some 10,000 couldn't help but appreciate the 5-foot-10, 145-pounder's heroics as she sprawled to thwart chance after chance, a leg or arm often appearing out of nowhere when the puck seemed destined for the back of the net.

She even stopped a penalty shot by Jayna Hefford, one of three Canadians who've scored more than 100 career goals with the national team.

With 5:08 to go, after Canada scored goal No. 7, German coach Peter Kathan mercifully pulled Harrer, who left the ice to a thunderous ovation.

Minutes later, she was reduced to tears when the crowd gave her a standing ovation for being named Germany's player of the game.

"I couldn't believe it," Harrer, part of Germany's army-sponsored sports program, said. "I've never had something like that. I've never been that happy after a loss."

It was one of those moments unique to international hockey.

"The Winnipeg fans were very classy to give her a standing ovation," Collins said. "It made me proud to be a Canadian."


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