BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) scored in regulation time and struck again in the shootout, helping Canada’s National Sledge Team to a 3-2 extra-time win over the United States, and first place in the preliminary round at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
The win means Canada will face Korea in Thursday’s second semifinal at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (7 p.m. AT), while the Americans will take on Russia in the early game (2 p.m. AT).
Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) stole the show, finishing with 27 saves in regulation and overtime, the second-most in one game in tournament history. He also stopped three of four Americans in the shootout to earn the well-deserved win.
After losing all five games to the U.S. last season, including a 2-0 defeat in the preliminary round at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, the Canadians finally broke through against the defending Paralympic and IPC world championship gold medallists.
Canada stormed out of the gate, taking a very early lead; Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) carried the puck into the American zone and circled the net before finding Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.), who beat U.S. netminder Steve Cash just 41 seconds after the puck dropped.
The Americans pulled even 3:36 into the second period when Declan Farmer snuck a shot past Watson from the low slot, but it took just 10 seconds for Dixon to restore the Canadian lead.
A quick penalty just 16 seconds after Dixon’s goal gave the U.S. the power play, and Paul Schaus needed only 28 seconds on the man advantage to make it a 2-2 game and finish a busy stretch of three goals in 54 seconds.
The U.S. held a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal in a scoreless third period, and had four shots in overtime, compared to just one for Canada, as Watson almost single-handedly got the game to a shootout.
Canada got on the board first on its second shot thanks to a slick move from Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.), but Farmer answered right back on the next American opportunity.
Dixon was turned away on Canada’s third shot, but, after Watson made a huge stop on Farmer, the defenceman made good on his second chance, giving the Canadians their first win over the U.S. since Jan. 9, 2014, a span of eight games.