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The Globe and Mail

Canadian women warm up for worlds with rout of Laval-Montreal midget boys

Gillian Apps scored a pair of goals and Canada continued its preparation for the 2012 world women's hockey championship with a 6-1 win over the Laval-Montreal boys' midget triple-A team Thursday.

Natalie Spooner and Caroline Ouellette each had a goal and two assists as Canada spread its scoring around. Jocelyne Larocque and Jayna Hefford also scored.

The game was a contrast to Canada's previous tuneup match against, a 3-2 shootout win over the St-Eustache boy's midget team on Wednesday.

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"I think we built on what we did yesterday, and we had a little more confidence and a little more team chemistry tonight," said Canadian head coach Dan Church. "That happens when you have more time together, and it showed in the score."

Charline Labonte started in goal for Canada, stopping 25 shots.

"(Labonte) was really good when she was tested," Chruch said. "She made a few key saves in the first period, especially when it was 0-0, that allowed us to gain confidence."

Julio Billia made 27 saves for Laval-Montreal.

Canada will get its first taste of international competition prior to the world championship when it faces the archrival Americans in Ottawa on Saturday.

"I like the fact that we're starting to play better within our structure. I think that the young players are starting to skate with confidence, and that's going to make our job as coaches tough when we have to cut down to our final roster," Church said.

Canada scored three power-play goals killed off six of seven short-handed situations, and Church would like to see that success on special teams continue.

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"I think we need to work on our special teams because they're so critical in a short-term competition," he said.

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