The early months of 2015 has provided teammates from the Nepean Wildcats with new experiences and a springboard toward possibly greater moments. Samantha Cogan, Lindsay Eastwood and Josianne Pozzebon have seen their collective efforts earn them opportunities to compete with the Canadian Under-18 National Team, while getting the call to don the jersey for Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games.
Donning the Maple Leaf, this titanic trio competed at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships in Buffalo, New York. Emerging with a silver medal, the gold medal game saw Cogan score the game-tying goal, forcing overtime against their archrival United States.
“Scoring a goal was surreal. I got a good pass from Lindsay Agnew and I drove the net hard. It was important to get the game-tying goal and help give our team more momentum. I wanted to help out that way.”
Among the trio, Cogan was one of Canada’s veterans for the Under-18 roster. Having been a member of the squad that captured the gold medal at the 2014 edition of the event (contested in Czech Republic), it is a moment that stills stands out for the budding star,
“In 2014, there were really no words to describe it. It was overwhelming, just amazing. It was such an honor being a world champion, representing Canada.”
Getting the opportunity to return with two of her long-time Nepean Wildcats teammates in 2015, only added to the feelings of pride and jubilation that complement the chance to represent your country.”
Since the inaugural Under-18 Women’s Worlds were contested in 2008, the gold medal game has always consisted of Canada and the United States facing off against each other. For Josianne Pozzebon, the chance to be part of the eternal hockey rivalry between the two women’s hockey superpowers, alongside her Wildcats teammates at the 2015 edition was a cherished one for her,
“Being with these girls (Cogan and Eastwood) on the Under-18 national team, they were awesome teammates. The coaching staff was great and to play against the US for gold, the atmosphere was pretty cool. To play at such a high level, it was just an honor to represent your country.”
In the middle of such intense competition, there was time for humor as well. A rare day off resulted in a chance encounter for Lindsay Eastwood. As the tallest player on the Canadian team at six feet tall (the next tallest was goaltender Marlene Boissonneault at 5’10”), said encounter would lead to a humorous yet heart-warming moment,
“On our day off, we went to the mall and there were a couple of girls there from Team Japan. They had asked us if we played hockey and all of us answered that we do. One of the players asked me if I was the goalie for Canada.
I told them that I played on defense and that I wore number four. The girls started clapping and my reaction was that I thought it was pretty neat. They actually knew who I was. My height was the main reason why, because I was so tall, but I thought it was a cool experience.”
Despite the silver medal outcome, the effort was nothing short of valiant. For the proud women’s hockey community in Ottawa, the chance for three homegrown hockey heroes to play on one of the world’s biggest hockey stages was a point of great pride. An added bonus was the fact that the game was televised on The Sports Network (TSN), signifying the growing impact of the event. It is an aspect that Cogan commented on,
“To have the game on TSN was amazing. It shows that the girls’ game has evolved so much. Ten years ago, there was no way that a game like this would have played on TV.
Our game has come a long way. The way the media looks at the game, and knowing that a lot of people are watching, it is in the back of your head when you are playing. To have all the Canadians at home on your side rooting for you, it is great.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Hockey Canada Images