January 11, 2014, INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (ISN) – Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) scored in the final minute to pull Canada’s National Sledge Team to within a goal of the United States, but the Canadians came out on the wrong end of a 2-1 score Friday afternoon in the middle game of a three-game series between the North American rivals.
The loss is Canada’s first since a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Americans on Feb. 16, 2013, a span of 16 games. The winning streak was the longest since Hockey Canada took over the sledge hockey program in 2004.
Bowden’s goal, with 51 seconds left and goaltender Benoit St-Amand (St-Hubert, Que.) on the bench, also helped Canada avoid being shut out for the first time in 20 games.
Bowden now has 99 career goals, one away from joining Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) as the only players to reach the century mark in a Team Canada jersey.
The Canadians came out firing, outshooting the U.S. 7-4 in the first period, but trailed 1-0 after 15 minutes thanks to a Declan Farmer goal just past the 11-minute mark of the opening frame.
The offensive chances dried up for Canada over the last two periods; it managed just two shots in the second and two more in the third. Overall, the U.S. held a 15-11 advantage in shots on goal.
After a goal-less second period, Josh Sweeney doubled the American advantage at 8:25 of the third, scoring the eventual game-winner.
Bowden got the Canadians close, but they would not manage another shot.
Canada opened the series with a 4-1 win on Thursday, meaning the teams will face off Saturday afternoon (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT) in the rubber match at the Extreme Ice Center, just outside of Charlotte.