Having established herself as a world-class hockey player, the opportunity to compete in Australia added a new dimension to Liz Knox’s game. Competing with the Melbourne Ice, one of the signature franchises in Australian women’s ice hockey, her presence between the pieces would yield a championship result.
One of the greatest female goaltenders in the game today, Knox has already competed on the international scale several times. From helping Canada capture gold at the 2011 Winter Universiade in Turkey, Knox would also don the Canadian jersey for the IIHF Eight Nations Tournament in 2012.
By season’s end, Knox would emerge as the class of the Australian league. Her undefeated mark of 10-0-0 was complemented by four shutouts; a sparkling .972 save percentage and a league best 0.80 goals against average. The only game in which she allowed more than one goal was on December 14, 2013. Knox would stop 24 of 27 shots in a convincing 10-3 victory against the Brisbane Goannas.
During her first season (2011-12) in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Knox would become the first rookie goaltender to start in the Clarkson Cup championship game. She would duplicate the feat in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League, opposing Claudia Tom, as Knox, a first-year AWIHL goaltender, started for the Melbourne Ice in the championship game.
Competing against the Adelaide Adrenaline, the Ice entered the contest as the defending league champions. Tensions ran high throughout the first two periods as it proved to be a defensive stalemate. Linsday Audia provided Melbourne with the first goal of the game at the 12:38 mark of the first, while Adelaide outshot Melbourne in the second stanza.
With the Ice holding on to a 1-0 advantage heading into the final frame, Knox would prove to be the key factor between the pipes as she preserved the victory. Registering 34 saves, she nullified four power play opportunities for Adelaide. An empty net tally by Maia Smith-Merovitz in the final seconds would clinch the championship.
“Our final game was very exciting, with us being up 1-0 for the majority of the game and not scoring the security goal until an empty netter with under a minute to go. Great crowd and great energy! It was quite the exciting match.”
Like so many other stars from Canada and the United States, Knox has emerged as a remarkable ambassador for the game. As the objective is to close the competitive gap that exists between North America and the rest of the world, the presence of women like Knox is having a positive impact.
This season, Knox was one of several stars to make the decision to expand their horizons and play abroad. American players Cherie Hendrickson and Kelley Steadman competed in Russia, while Bailey Bram, a former teammate of Knox with Brampton, made the journey to Sweden. Competing overseas not only provides players with a new cultural experience, but it provides them with the chance to understand and appreciate how other countries are growing to embrace the game.
While Brampton fans certainly missed Knox this season, they can be proud in knowing that she was a tremendous representative for their community and the game. For fans in Australia, the magical moments that Knox provided allowed them the opportunity to appreciate one of the world’s finest between the pipes.
Photo credit: MJ Wragg Photography