CANADA SKATES TO SILVER AT WORLD SLEDGE HOCKEY CHALLENGE IN CHARLOTTETOWN

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    Steve Arsenault

    HARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. Canada’s National Sledge Team wins silver for the second straight time this year at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge following a 5-2 loss to the United States Saturday night at the MacLauchlan Arena.

     

    In the 10-year history of the event, Canada has now won five gold, four silver, and one bronze.

     

    “We had some good hockey games but we didn’t get what we wanted today,” said Team Canada captain Greg Westlake. “We have to use this as fuel for the rest of the year; we still have a world championship, we still have a tournament in Italy coming up. We still have a lot of games and hope we get a few more chances at them.”

     

    Canada jumped out to an early 1-0 first-period lead on a goal from Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) before the United States erupted with five goals, including three in less than two minutes in the second.  Brad Bowden would add his fourth goal of the tournament, while Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) and Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) split time in goal.

     

    “Up until this game I felt we had a good week. We seemed to be getting better every game, even tonight’s game I thought we got off to a very good start,” said head coach Ken Babey. “[Corbin] Watson made some saves in the first period and we left the first with a one-goal lead. You go into the second period thinking we just gotta keep working but then they get a quick one, then two quick ones, and it’s hard to recover emotionally from that.”

     

    In the bronze-medal game, Norway came from behind to defeat Korea 2-1 for their first medal since 2012 when they also won bronze.

     

    The four-team tournament provided edge-of-your-seat action for fans taking in 10 games over five days at MacLauchlan Arena. With the local school program, more than 2,800 school kids cheered on the athletes, and off the ice, Team Canada immersed themselves into the community with visits to a local kids day camp, the seniors’ active living centre, as well as the coaches hosting a minor sledge hockey clinic. The World Sledge Hockey Challenge will also leave a lasting legacy in the area as proceeds from the event will go back into the community to be re-invested into the growth of sledge hockey.

     

    The World Sledge Hockey Challenge was the team’s first action of the 2016-17 season. The competition season for Canada’s National Sledge Team continues with the 4 Nations Cup in Italy in February, and the 2017 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship in PyeongChang, Korea.

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