BUFFALO, N.Y. – Two first-period goals from Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) propelled Canada’s National Sledge Team to a 3-0 shutout win over Team Pan-Pacific on Friday and to the gold medal game in the first-ever IPC Pan-Pacific Championship final on Saturday.
Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) picked up a trio of assists in the game, while Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) was credited with the shutout win in goal.
After defeating their U.S. rivals on Wednesday, the Canadians wanted to end the preliminary round without a loss. They began Friday’s game with a bang.
After he won the opening face-off, Westlake entered the offensive zone down the middle and took a pass from Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) before firing it into the net to give Canada a 1-0 lead just 12 seconds after the puck dropped.
Westlake would double the Canadian lead with 90 seconds left in the first when he capped off a beautiful play from McGregor, who stripped the opponent of the puck before circling the net and finding Westlake left alone in front.
Canada dominated the opening period and outshot Team Pan-Pacific 9-1, sending pucks off posts and forcing goalie Kyle Huckaby to make numerous big saves.
After neither team scored in the second period, Canada made it 3-0 by again striking early at the start of the third period, this time thanks to Billy Bridges, who picked up a loose puck before deking and sliding it underneath Huckaby at 1:19.
The Canadians ended the game with a 19-5 advantage in shots on goal, going 0-for-3 on the power play, but a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Canada now awaits the winner of tonight’s matchup between the U.S. and Korea to find out who it will face for gold in Saturday’s final (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT).
“We’ve played every game in the tournament like it was our gold-medal game. Today we faced off against a team that we never played against before, and we reacted well. I felt we were solid and it looks good for tomorrow.”
– Dominic Larocque (Quebec)
“We played a good game against a team that played hard and physical. Our leaders did a really good job of making key plays at key moments, which gave us momentum. Now we set our sights on a chance to win gold.”
– Ken Babey, head coach, Canada’s National Sledge Team