CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The greatest hockey rivalry during the last 50 years is undoubtedly Canada against the Soviet Union (now Russia) and, for a while Friday, I thought we may see the rivalry renewed. But, unfortunately, that wasn’t to be as Germany upset Team Canada 4-3 in a game where the Canucks fell behind early.
A silly faceoff infraction, one of a number of new rule interpretations that have chased hockey fans in North America away from the game, led to a German power play and it was all downhill from there.
During the years, Canada's play in international competitions has been punctuated by bad penalties and poor discipline and that's what happened against Germany. Team Canada plays for a bronze medal today against the Czech Republic, so let's hope for a better outcome.
Team Canada women’s team lost 3-2 in a shootout to Team USA in their gold medal game and sadly it was a case of the law of averages catching up with Team Canada.
It was without question the best women’s championship game in the Olympics and for that matter anywhere. It was a heart-breaker to lose, but when two equally strong teams play over a long period of time, it usually comes out even. In this case, it was the Americans’ turn and they deserved full marks for their win. Canada gave a 100 per cent effort but on this occasion, but it wasn't quite good enough. C'est la vie.
The Charlottetown Islanders are headed down the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League home-stretch with about 10 games to go in the regular season.
Heading into the weekend, the Islanders were tied for eighth place and were a point out of seventh with a game in han. They also have a favourable schedule with seven of their final 10 games against Moncton, Saint John and Cape Breton, who trail the Islanders in the standings. With 16 of 18 teams qualifying for post-season play, the eighth spot means the home-ice advantage in the first round, which is a huge factor in playoff success.
The Islanders host Saint John here Sunday at 2 p.m. and are back on home ice Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the always-tough Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
The Island Storm has pulled out of a tailspin with that thrilling win over Saint John Riptide Monday in front of 2,600 fans. The Storm added two new players, traded a solid forward in Torrence Dyck Jr. and released Dut Dut, as they find themselves in a real battle with Saint John and Cape Breton for the last playoff spots in the Atlantic Division.
Unfortunately, the Storm suffered a huge loss in practice this week which puts sharp-shooting guard Andre Stringer on the sidelines for the rest of the season. It's a big blow but the Storm has talent in the backcourt with outstanding Frank Session, shooter Tyler Scott and Kemy Osse plus the new guard from California. The Storm plays in Cape Breton Sunday afternoon against the Highlanders, who helped themselves with the signing of ex-Storm standout Rashad Whack.
Fred (Fiddler) MacDonald talks about the Island Storm, the Olympics, UPEI Panthers men’s hockey and the NHL trade deadline in this week’s video. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO.
The Sherwood Parkdale Falcons played well in the 59th annual Quebec international peewee tournament and made it to the finals in their division despite losing their opener. The Falcons lost 5-2 in their championship game, so a job well done by the coaching staff of Brodie Coffin, Alan and John MacAdam, Lyle Diamond and Jamie Gallant.
In other local minor hockey play, Sophia MacMillan, captain of Charlottetown atom AA club, potted two goals last week and looks like a genuine sniper, skills she appears to have inherited from her mom Janna and not her dad Andrew.
The provincial midget AAA playoffs are proving to be most interesting as the upstart, but Spud champion, Central Attack trails Western 2-1. Game 4 was Friday night.
Goaltenders Matt Halliwell (Central) and Colin Gaudette (Western) have been sharp throughout, so staying out of the penalty box may be the key to this series. If Game 5 is needed, it will be tonight in Alberton.
There is no live racing anywhere in the Maritimes at this time of the year but there's simulcast action available at the city track from numerous up-country thoroughbred and harness racing tracks.
Maritime horse of the year Pappy Go Go made a break in his Yonkers debut two weeks ago but recently qualified in 2:01 at The Meadowlands and was in to go Friday.
Rockin in Heaven was seventh in 1:51 in the $18,000 class at Woodbine a week ago. On the same card, The Rev, owned by Jeff Skinner of Hammond Plains, N.S., took the $34,000 top class for Jody Jamieson in 1:51:1.
Dave Ratchford's top mare, MsMac N Cheese, won the $30,000 open mares on Feb. 16 as this Sydney-owned mare keeps making money.
On Thursday's card Brandon's Glory (by Brandons Cowboy) won in 1:54:2 for trainer Steve Charlton. Also at Woodbine, Bettim Jackie has been razor sharp of late, taking a new record of 1:53 and change, winning the $18,000 class for co-owners Jeff Lilley, Blair MacLauchlan of Charlottetown and Danny Purcell of Nova Scotia.
The Maritime’s top three-year-old colt in 2017, Island Energetic, was seventh recently at Yonkers but raced better Thursday and finished fourth while being dropped to the claiming ranks. The time of the mile was 1:54.
Late news out of Truro, N.S., as we go to press is the doors have been closed at Truro Raceway, which, I hope, is temporary. I've preached for years about supporting Truro Raceway but to no avail. Now you can see why. Let's hope there is a solution.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.