Sarah Fillier, Caroline Harvey among women’s hockey’s next generation

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Sarah Fillier, Caroline Harvey among women’s hockey’s next generation
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There was so much buzz revolving around Sarah Fillier’s arrival at Princeton in 2018, women’s hockey coach Cara Morey took a tough-love approach.

Difficult as it was, Morey chose to initially pay little attention to Fillier. Her thinking was to ease the expectations already placed on her star recruit’s shoulders, while also allowing the forward a chance to organically find her place on the team.

“So I almost ignored her. That was hard on Sarah,” Morey recalled with a laugh. “But in a way, then the players did accept her for who she was. And they loved her. And that’s when I could start coaching her.”

There’s no ignoring Fillier now in preparing to make her Olympic debut for Canada at the Beijing Olympics.

The 21-year-old made a dazzling world championships debut with her dynamic play-making ability and deft scoring touch leading to three goals and three assists as Canada went 7-0 to win gold and end a five-title run by the U.S. Fillier’s prowess carried over into the pre-Olympic rivalry series against the Americans by scoring a team-leading five goals in six games in which Canada went 4-1-1.

This is the type of production Fillier has been known for since growing up just outside of Toronto, where she was a multi-sport athlete and spent most of her youth playing on hockey teams well above her age group.

“I think she’s going to be the best player in the world, and I think she’s very close to it already,” Morey said of the nation’s 2019 rookie of the year.

Fillier is playing on Canada’s second line alongside veterans Melodie Daoust and Natalie Spooner. The trio complements each other with Spooner’s big-bodied ability to retrieve pucks, Daoust’s passing skills and Fillier’s finish.

“From that first time getting to play with her, I knew she was going to be a great player,” Spooner said. “And once she gets used to playing at this level even more, it’s going to be crazy.”

Captain Marie-Philip Poulin cites Fillier for her commitment to improve.

“She wants more every day, and at a young age, you can’t be satisfied where you’re at. And I don’t think she is,” Poulin said. “That’s something that struck me a lot, inspired me.”

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