Phillips returns home with World Women’s U-18 hockey gold

The smile couldn't be wiped off the face of Lucy Phillips, even if she was very tired after winning gold with Canada at the U-18 women's hockey championship. (Healey photo)

HALIFAX STANFIELD AIRPORT: Lucy Phillips was still on Cloud Nine as she returned home on Tuesday morning June 14—about 15 hours later then planned.

Phillips, a former Fall River product, was part of the Canadian women’s hockey team that won Under-18 women’s hockey gold at the COVID-19-delayed championship, held in Madison, Wis. They beat the USA 3-2 in the final.

She was the teams third goalie, although only two got to see any game play during the tournament for Canada, led by starter Mari Pietersen, who stopped 27 of 29 pucks in the final.

While she may not have saw any game action—IIHF rules state only the two rostered goalies got to play unless there was an injury. Knowing this going in to the tournament, Phillips didn’t let that deter her as she said she knew she had a role to play and did just that cheering her teammates on and getting them pumped up.

As she and two other Nova Scotians—a therapist and assistant coach Troy Ryan awaited their luggage to come out the carousel at Halifax Stanfield Airport—Phillips spoke of the experience she had donning the Maple Leaf of Canada for the tournament.

“It was incredible. It was long, but it was so much fun,” said Phillips, standing next to dad Gary. “The girls were awesome, the staff were awesome, the hockey was just so good. It’s sad that it’s over, but I’m also like happy to be home now.”

The delay in returning home was caused by a change in plane departure time from Chicago, and then a mechanical issue forcing them to miss the connecting flight from Montreal.

It also meant the planned surprise welcome home by some of her Bay View High School friends wouldn’t happen as they were in school when she got home.

Phillips went home for a couple hours nap before going in to school showing off her gold medal. She had an idea of the type of reaction she would get—and it was pretty accurate looking at her Facebook posts of her return to school.

“I think my friends will just be happy to see me,” she said. “I think my teachers will be the ones that are like, “oh, let’s see the medal,” and my friends will just be giving me hugs and stuff.”

Lucy with the NS flag in the medal ceremony after the gold medal win. (Submitted photo)

She described the final seconds as the clock ticked down to Canada winning its sixth gold medal at the U-18 women’s championship.

“I was standing behind our goal waiting for them to open the door. And it got to like eight seconds. I was, “Hey, open the door.” And then it was five seconds. I was, “Hey, open the door.” Then they opened the door,” said Phillips. “I was one of the first one to get to the pile. So that was kind of cool.

“I just kind of jumped on them and we were all just screaming, I felt bad for Mari, who was on the bottom and some other people. I don’t think they could breathe.”

Canada had lost 7-0 to the US a few nights earlier, so Phillips felt they were a bit nervous facing their rivals in the gold medal final.

“I think after the third goal that we scored, we got a bit too excited and lost the edge, but we held on and got the assignment done,” she said.

Phillips spoke about playing with NHL Legend Jarome Iginla’s daughter Jade during the tournament. Jade was injured early on and ruled out but came back in the last couple of playoff round games to help lead Canada.

“It was pretty cool,” said Phillips. “She’s just another girl on the team; she’s probably just as talented at everyone. I felt bad for her when she blocked the shot and kind of got hurt in the exhibition game.

“We went on the ice a couple of times, just me and her for my goalie session and she lit me up a bit. So I told her that her hand wasn’t broken and then she played the next game.”