Gold 'huge' for Szabados

Shannon Szabados says the 40 shots Team Canada faced in the gold medal game was high, but she'd...

Shannon Szabados says the 40 shots Team Canada faced in the gold medal game was high, but she'd rather face 40 than seven. (Reuters)

Terry Jones, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:48 PM ET

Both teams won gold at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. But both headed into this year with desperate need for their first world championship wins since.

The men head over to Finland for the world championship in 10 days. The women just arrived back from finally getting the job done at the women’s world in Burlington, Vermont.

“It was huge for us. We haven’t been able to beat the USA at worlds since 2007,” said goaltender Shannon Szabados, who was in goal for the gold at the Olympics.

The women’s national netminder, who switched men’s teams from Grant McEwan Griffins to the NAIT Ookpiks this year, stopped 40 shots to lead Canada to a 5-4 gold medal win over the Americans Sunday.

“Forty shots is high,” she said of the total against Canada in a women’s hockey game, although not uncommon in some of the men’s games she plays.

“But I’ll take 40 shots if we get five goals at the other end. In a game against Russia they only had seven shots. I’d rather face 47 than seven.”

Charlene Labonte started the round-robin game against the Americans, gave up three goals in the first couple of minutes. Szabados went in and gave up two more by the end of the period and Labonte returned to the net to give up what turned out to be seven of the nine goals in a staggering 9-2 USA victory.

What happened?

“We were asking ourselves the same question,” said Szabados. “We just came out flat. We were down 5-0 in the first five minutes.”

As for the switch from Grant McEwan to NAIT, she said it was a decision which involved both education and hockey.

“I’d completed a two-year education transfer program at Grant McEwan and was doing summer training with a couple players with NAIT. They told me they really needed a goalie this year. It worked out for the good for me. It’ll take me through to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.”

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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