The Canada-U.S. women’s hockey rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sport. Jillian Saulnier knows first-hand.


The Halifax native, unveiled yesterday as a nominee for an IKON Sport Award as Nova Scotia’s female team athlete of the year, was in the heat of the battle in January at the world under-18 hockey championship in Fussen, Germany.


Saulnier, one of the province’s top female hockey players, came away with silver in an overtime heartbreaker.


“I’ve never felt so exhilarated in my whole life,” said Saulnier, who had a breakaway chance near the end of regulation. “There’s nothing less than No. 1 that you want to be. The rivalry is there, for sure. I think it will always be there.”


The 17-year-old forward is eligible to return to the Canadian under-18 team for the 2010 worlds, meaning she has a realistic shot at redemption against the U.S.

“It was a great experience and we had a blast,” she said of the tournament. “The process starts over now and hopefully I get selected again and we can (go for gold).”