Canada's Olympic hopes dashed in heartbreaking shootout loss

National women's field hockey team falls to Ireland with trip to Tokyo on the line

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.

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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.  

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