The Olympic dreams of the Canadian women’s national field hockey team were dashed over the weekend in Dublin during a heartbreakingly tight series against Ireland.
One week after the Canadian men defeated Ireland in a penalty shootout to book a ticket to Tokyo 2020, the script flipped as the Irish women scored a shootout win over Canada to earn the Olympic berth.
The two-game aggregate score series played Saturday and Sunday was tense throughout, with neither team scoring a goal through eight quarters of play. With the score tied 0-0 at the end of Game 2, the series went straight to a shootout.
In the shootout North Vancouver’s Stephanie Norlander scored first followed by goals from Amanda Woodcroft and Sara McManus, giving Canada a commanding 3-1 lead through three rounds. Needing just one more goal or one more Irish miss, the Canadians got neither, as Ireland stormed back to tie it 3-3 and send the shootout to sudden death. In the sixth round Ireland scored and then got a save by goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran to win the series and the Olympic berth.
It was a tough loss for the Canadians, many of whom moved to Europe more than a year ago to advance their training and play in more competitive leagues to make a push for the 2020 Games.
Four North Shore players suited up for Canada in the series against Ireland, including Norlander, Hannah Haughn, Rachel Donohoe and Karli Johansen.