Canada’s women’s team falls to UFA Bisons in midget hockey series

STRATHMORE, Alta. – George Merik made 34 saves as the UFA Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League downed Canada’s national women’s hockey team 6-0 Thursday.

Keith Csizmadia had two goals and an assist for the Bisons, while Levi Bews, Mason Burr, Cody Fowlie and Michael Winther also scored.

The game was Canada’s third in as many nights, including a two-day northern road trip to Grand Prairie and Edmonton that covered more than 1,400 kilometres, all by bus.

It was a measure of revenge for the Bisons, who lost 6-5 to Canada in the Icebreaker Tournament in late September.

The Canadian women dropped to 5-2 in NWT Midget Series, featuring teams made up of male players aged 15-17. The midget teams have agreed not to bodycheck against the Canadians, as that constitutes a penalty in women’s hockey.

The games count in the AMHL standings for the midget teams.

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Both teams came out with chances in the opening 20 minutes, and despite the Bisons holding a 10-8 advantage in shots on goal, the game entered the first intermission scoreless.

The Bisons opened the scoring in the second period, with Bews scoring short-handed. Csizmadia scored 4-on-4 and Burr added a power play marker for the Bisons, sending them to the dressing room up 3-0 after two periods

Csizmadia, Fowlie and Winther added third period goals on Canadian netminders Kim St-Pierre and Charline Labonte, who combined to stop 32 of the 38 shots directed their way.

Canada continues NWT Midget Series play on Tuesday, when it faces the Calgary Flames at Father David Bauer Olympic Arena in Calgary.

That will be Canada’s final game before departing for Europe, where it will face Finland, Sweden and the United States at the 2009 Four Nations Cup, beginning Nov. 3.