An essential contributor in Canada’s gold medal triumph at the 2022 ISBHF Women’s Worlds, forward Carol-Ann Upshall delivered on all accounts. Winning the scoring title, complemented by the tournament Most Valuable Player Award, the highly talented competitor, originally from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, established herself among the world’s finest.
Calling former Clarkson Golden Knights skater Genevieve Bannon a linemate, a tremendous rapport quickly developed. As a side note, both were also teammates with the Ottawa Capitals, winners of the 2021 CBHA National Championship. Bannon, the only other member of Canada’s roster born in Quebec, made her ISBHF debut in 2022. Coincidentally, the Worlds were hosted northwest of Montreal, in the city of Laval, accentuating the feeling of home court advantage.
“I played mainly with Gen Bannon! She was such a great person to play with. I think our success came because we had so much fun together and wanted the best out of each other.
It was really special because my family and friends were able to be part of this experience with me. They were such a big part of my success throughout the entire tournament. I felt blessed that they were there to cheer on our team.”
Recording an astounding 19 points, seven points more than runner-up Lucie Manhartova of Czech Republic, Upshall, a former RSEQ All-Star with the University of Ottawa, established herself as the leading scorer in tournament play. As a side note, three Canadians placed in the top five in the scoring race, including Melanie Jue (11 points) and Genevieve Bannon (10 points).
Statistically, Upshall’s finest performance took place in a 13-0 victory versus Lebanon, making their inaugural debut at the ISBHF Worlds. With five goals, four different members of the Canadian contingent, Bannon, Jue, Chelsea Karpenko and Jessica McCann, logged assists.
Regardless of the point totals, Upshall’s focus remained poised on giving her team an opportunity to claim the gold. Approaching each game with the goal of making her best contributions, there were no expectations geared towards accolades.
“I did not expect anything. The only thing that mattered to me was to help my team win. I had so much pleasure creating plays for my teammates to score. Teamwork is important to me and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Garnering Tournament MVP honors, affirming her standing among the world’s finest, Upshall recorded at least one point in every game. Undeniably, her greatest goal took place in a hard-fought 2-1 preliminary round win against their eternal rivals, the United States. With an American roster featuring numerous players from the PHF, including their goaltending tandem, the affair was a defensive stalemate throughout.
With Megan Fortier tying the score for the US after nearly 18 minutes of scoreless play, a prolonged scoring drought ensued. Taking another 15 minutes before the game-winning goal, Upshall found the back of the net. Scoring versus Brooke Wolejko, whose current club team in the PHF is the Metropolitan Riveters, Upshall’s goal, assisted by Bannon and Edie Brenning, proved critical in clinching first overall during preliminary round play.
Continuing to contribute in the medal round, both games won by a 3-2 mark, the championship game marked Upshall’s finest hour. Involved in the first and final goals scored by Canada, the victory signified one of the most dramatic in Canadian program history.
Facing off versus Czech Republic in the finals, Karolina Kosinova and Michaela Krasova scored twice within 55 seconds. Providing the Czechs with a 2-0 advantage after merely four and a half minutes of play, Canada had to wait until the 22:25 mark to begin their comeback. Fittingly, Upshall rose to the occasion, feeding the puck to Reagan Fischer, trimming the Czech lead.
After Shae-Lynn Clarke, the pride of Bell Island, Newfoundland, tied the score at 24:48, the score remained tied for nearly 16 minutes. Coincidentally, another star player from Newfoundland, Kristen Cooze, also a 2022 inductee of the ISBHF Hall of Fame, placed her name on the scoresheet. With assists credited to Upshall and Jessica McCann, putting the gold medal out of reach for the opposing Czechs, the miracle comeback provided Canada with its second straight gold medal.
Certainly, the superlative effort in the glory of the gold medal match represented Upshall’s objective since the opening game. Wanting to provide a presence built on reliability and proficiency, she established herself among the catalysts on offense. Providing a combination of skill and leadership exemplified through continuous effort, the results spoke for themselves, providing the Canadian contingent with a gem.
“My number one goal was to feel as if my team could rely on me. I felt like I acheived this goal and contributed to my team’s success. I felt honoured to receive this prize (MVP) and I hope to be part of this team for many more years.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”