CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Declan Farmer scored 1:14 into overtime to give the United States a 2-1 win over Canada’s National Sledge Team at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
Farmer carried the puck from his own end, held off Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) once he entered the Canadian zone and roofed it short side from the bottom of the left circle.
With the win, the United States secured the top seed for the semifinals.
Farmer also scored in regulation for the Americans.
Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) scored for Canada, on assists from Dixon and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.).
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) made six saves for Canada. Steve Cash made 16 saves for the U.S.
The largest crowd of the week so far was treated to a fast-paced game right from puck drop.
A holding minor gave the U.S. the first power play only two minutes into the game. Challenged with defending some good puck movement around the offensive zone by the Americans, the Canadians responded by not allowing a shot on net.
Seven minutes in, on a power play on its own, Canada got on the board first. McGregor took the puck from the side boards, drove across the left face-off dot and went short side as he slid into the slot.
Larocque made two big saves after that to preserve the one-goal lead. First he stopped Josh Pauls point blank from the doorstep. Moments later he stoned Farmer at the side of the net.
The United States scored the only goal of the second period. Forty-five seconds after the teams retook the ice, Brody Roybal passed back to a trailing Farmer, who slid the puck in from the top of the crease.
Canada’s best chance to retake the lead came eight minutes later. Steve Arsenault (Spruce Grove, Alta.) got to the front of the net alone, but a diving stick save by Cash kept the game tied 1-1.
Both teams had chances to go up in the third. Early on Westlake redirected a pass from Dixon, but Cash was quick to push that aside. And with just over a minute to go, Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) hustled to catch up to Rico Roman and break up a potential breakaway.
Canada now faces Norway in one semifinal (Thursday, 7 p.m. AT), while the U.S. faces Korea in the other (1 p.m. AT).
Canada wrapped up preliminary-round action Wednesday at the MacLaughlan Arena with a 2-1 overtime loss to the United States to finish with a 2-0-1 record at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
- Team Canada alternate captain, Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.), scored the lone goal for the host team just six minutes into the first period while Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) and Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) drew the assists.
- Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) started his second game of the tournament and stopped six of the eight shots he faced.
- Canada outshot the United States 17-8, and held them off the shot clock 7-0 in the third period.
- Next game: The semifinals are now set at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge as Canada’s National Sledge Team will face Norway on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. The other semifinal features the United Sates and Korea at 12 p.m.
Tyler McGregor on outshooting the US and holding them shotless in the third period:
“I think it’s a testament to the commitment to our team structure, and also the work we’ve been putting in for the better part of the last three years. We’ve committed to each other and I think that’s starting to show off. Obviously it would have been nice to display that with a win, but we have another chance and it’s just exciting to see how far our team has come and we can’t wait to go again. Now heading into our game against Norway we know it’s going to be a good game. They came here to play and they showed that with their win against Korea earlier [today]. They’ve always been a good team, they’ve been around a long time and we’re going in with the mindset that we need to win a tough game.”
Ken Babey, head coach (Saskatoon, Sask.):
“[These are] two good teams and we had a good effort tonight. I didn’t think we buried some of the chances we had throughout the game, especially in the first period [where] we had numerous chances. But overall we played a good game and it comes down to a great play by one of their players. He picks a corner, there wasn’t much there, he picks it; it was a heck of a shot and I thought Dom [Larocque] played very well tonight so congratulations to the USA for winning the preliminary-round, now we’re going to focus our attention on Norway and hopefully come out of there and move on to the gold medal.”