Monday, 15 April 2013

Germany blanks Carleton Ravens in emotional homecoming for Seiler

An emotional match for Sara Seiler saw her face-off against her former club team, the Carleton Ravens university women’s team. The contest began with a ceremonial face-off featuring Sue Scherer, the first captain of the Canadian Women’s Team that captured gold at the inaugural IIHF Women’s Worlds in 1990.

Early on, the Germans believed that they had captured the first lead of the game. In the Ravens zone, Sara Seiler made a cross-ice pass that bounced off the skate of Ravens defender Kaylee Welk. While the puck found its way in the net, the goal was disallowed.

Manuela Anwander of Germany proceeded to record a few shots on Ravens starting goaltender Tamber Tisdale. While there was a lot of back and forth with clean skating, both clubs struggled to assemble an offense.

Germany’s Maritta Becker was called for hooking in the first penalty of the game. With the Ravens on a power play, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Ivonne Schroder, the starting goaltender for Germany was able to neutralize the power play.

Seiler weaved through traffic but her shot was denied by the Ravens backstop. As the minutes wound down, the Germans peppered Tisdale with shots. Before the period would expire, the persistence would pay off as the Germans would earn the lead. From her knees, Julia Zorn managed to put the puck past Tisdale for the 1-0 lead.

Heading into the second stanza, the Germans built on the momentum and added to the lead. With 18:15 remaining, Franziska Busch buried the puck past Tisdale as the Germans pulled ahead by a 2-0 tally.

Near the midway point of the second, the Ravens would change their goalie as Eri Kiribuchi stood between the pipes. The Germans followed suit a few minutes later as Viona Harrer replaced Schroder.

For the remainder of the period, the Ravens struggled to assemble an offensive attack. Germany provided a stout defense which frustrated the Ravens throughout the contest. Kiribuchi managed to maintain the Ravens morale as she made a pad save on Anwander to prevent the Germans from adding to their lead.

The beginning of the third period brought with it humour. With the Ravens on a power play early in the frame, Seiler and Ravens defender Erin Beaver collided. Seiler tripped and crashed into Kiribuchi. The two got up and exchanged smiles.

Although the Germans neutralized the Ravens first power play, it would not take long for the Ravens to go back on the power play. Maritta Becker was called for tripping. While the Ravens played valiantly, they were struggling to solve the German defense.

After both penalties were killed, the Germans came back on offense. Andrea Lanzl added to the German lead to the approval of the German fans in attendance. After the goal, Ravens alternate captain Victoria Gouge was called for a penalty and the Germans benefited from a power play.

Kiribuchi continued to be tested. Sophie Kratzer released a powerful shot from centre ice. The Germans would continue to press with Lanzl leading the offensive charge. While Kiribuchi managed to not allow another goal, the Ravens struggled with offense and were shutout in a 3-0 final.

Graduating player Kelsey Vander Veen, of the Carleton Ravens, was playing in her final game. The experience of playing Seiler was a treasured one, “It was a lot of fun seeing her out there. She is a skilled player and fun to play against.”

During a shootout after the game (a friendly exhibition for the fans), Vander Veen scored a shootout, a perfect way to end her Ravens career. “The shootout goal was a treasured moment for sure. I had never scored in the shootout before.”

Ravens goaltender Eri Kiribuchi, the Ravens goaltender was named Player of the Game for her team. “I was surprised but happy.” Having played for several seasons with Seiler, the thought of playing against her evoked the following, “I was a little scared to play her because I know she has a good shot. It was fun to stop her shots and good to play against her.”

Blaire MacDonald who inherited the team captaincy from the Ravens commented on playing against her. “In the beginning I was fine as I had thought all day of playing. Near the end it was different. A lot harder than the beginning.” With this being her final game, the opportunity to play her former teammate was a memorable way to finish, “It was a great game and I couldn’t have asked for a better game to end my career.”

When Sara Seiler was asked about keeping her emotions in check for the game, she replied, “I think so. Once the game started, I was fine. I was nervous during the on-ice warmup.”

While crashing into Kiribuchi in the Ravens crease was an unexpected moment, Seiler was concerned for her former Ravens teammate, “I felt really sorry and I said sorry to her. It was fine and there was no problem there.”

Her impressions of the game were as follows, “Some things were good, others were not that good. We came to prepare for our next game. It was fine for us and we are well prepared for the tournament. We are looking forward to getting started.”

Player of the Game for Germany, Julia Zorn was happy with the game’s outcome. “The game gave us confidence. The way we finished the game gives us a positive feeling for the upcoming week. I scored before the first period ended. After the first half, we played better, and made better decisions.”

Germany’s team captain, Susann Gotz also commented on the win, “We treated this like a normal game. Playing against a university, a club team, it was important for us. This was our last game before the championship started. Our power play was very important.”

Starting goaltender Ivonne Schroder noticed that the Ravens were a hard working team, “They were a good team, very young, really motivated. We skated a lot and worked really hard.”

While she did not suit up in the game, Jenny Harss (who won an NCAA Frozen Four title in 2010), acknowledged the importance of the contest. “We wanted to have one more good game before we started the championship on Tuesday. We want to go into the tournament with a good positive feeling, and be confident.”

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