Team Canada faces illness, injuries going into rematch against USA

First Team Canada lost hometown favourite Emily Clark to an ankle injury. Now the coach of Canada’s top women’s hockey team says some of his players are fighting a flu-like illness.

Team Canada faces Team USA Wednesday evening in the 4 Nations Cup in Saskatoon. It’s the two squads’ first rematch since February’s Olympic final in Pyongchang, where the Canadians lost 3-2 in a shootout.

After a 6-1 win against Sweden Monday night, Perry Pearn said the team will rest most of Wednesday.

“We’re in the same hotel as Finland and they were down people today as well,” said Pearn. “Obviously there’s something going around.”

“We’re in the same hotel as Finland and they were down people today as well,” Team Canada’s head coach Perry Pearn told reporters at SaskTel Centre late Tuesday. (Hockey Canada)

He said Team Canada will skip its warm-up skate today in favour of resting up for the rematch against the U.S.

“When you’re going to play four games in five days, the pre-game skate is not an important part of the plan,” Pearn said.

He praised Sweden for playing a “very, very good trap” in the first period, forcing the Canadians to adjust.

Sweden forward Sabina Kuller battles for the puck with Canada forward Loren Gabel during the third period. Canada went on to defeat Sweden 6-1. (The Canadian PressLiam Richards)

Mélodie Daoust scored in the first and third periods for Team Canada.

Sara Fillier had her first goal playing for the national team, along with goals by Laura Fortino, Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey. Rebecca Johnston had four assists.

Veteran goaltender Shannon Szabados stopped 16 of Sweden’s 17 shots.

Sweden’s lone goal came during a power play in the third period.

By that point, the lineup had gone from having 13 forwards dressed to finishing the game with ten, Pearn said.

“It was definitely a really cool feeling,” said Sarah Fillier, after scoring her first goal for Team Canada against Sweden at the 4 Nations Cup in Saskatoon. (Hockey Canada)

Pearn said the team will meet Wednesday to discuss a game plan against the Americans.

He said his biggest concern is keeping the Canadian women healthy enough to win tonight on home ice.

“We’ve got to make sure that everybody gets enough rest,” said Pearn. “We’ll have a lot of people resting and trying to recoup.”

Wednesday’s game starts at 7 p.m. CST at SaskTel Centre.

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