CANADA BLOWS OUT ITALIANS

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    Ben Delaney scored a hat trick, Liam Hickey and James Dunn had two goals each and Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team continued its offensive roll with a 10-0 win over Italy. © Scott Grant/Canadian Paralympic Committee

    GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Ben Delaney (Ottawa, Ont.) scored a hat trick, and added an assist for good measure, as Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team stayed perfect at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games with a 10-0 win over Italy on Sunday.

    The Canadians have been dominant at both ends of the ice through two games, outscoring Sweden and Italy by a combined 27-0 while allowing just six shots on goal.

    Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) and James Dunn (Wallacetown, Ont.) added two goals apiece for Canada, while Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) and Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) had a goal and an assist each.

    Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) needed to make just four saves to record the shutout in the Canadian goal.

    Just as he did in the tournament-opening win over the Swedes on Saturday, Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) got the offence started with an early power-play goal; he knocked in a centering feed from Dixon only 3:59 in.

    Dixon doubled the lead at 9:21, taking advantage of a breakdown in the Italian zone and beating goaltender Santino Stillitano on a breakaway, and Delaney showed great patience to tuck the 3-0 goal around Stillitano just over two minutes later.

    Hickey potted a pair of quick goals 2:08 apart early in the second period, going to the left hand both times to extend the lead to 5-0, before Delaney finished his hat trick with a two shorthanded markers, both off feeds from Bryan Sholomicki (Winnipeg, Man.), to send Canada to the intermission up by a converted touchdown.

    After Cozzolino made it 8-0 at 3:06 of the third period, finding a loose puck in the slot, it was Dunn, the youngest player on the Canadian roster at just 17, who struck twice to cap the scoring.

    He forced a turnover deep in the Italian zone before converting a shorthanded opportunity at 6:27, and outmuscled a defender for a second unassisted goal at 11:23.

    The first Dunn goal was a historic one for the Team Canada program; it was the 1,000th Canadian goal since Hockey Canada took over the para hockey program prior to the 2004-05 season.

    Watson had to be sharp on an early Italian power play, making a pair of saves to keep the Canadians up by a goal, but didn’t see another shot until the dying minutes of the third period with the game well in hand.

    Quotes:

     

    “I thought Italy started the game playing us pretty strong physically, they plugged up the neutral zone and we had to adjust to that. We got rolling and tonight it was nice to see Delaney and Dunn and a few of the newer players come on to the horizon so to speak. It’s good to have team depth and I like the way we’re playing as a team.

    Ken Babey, head coach, Canada’s Para Hockey Team

     

    “I’m trying not to be nervous or overly excited, I just want to go out there and play my game. It is fun and a bit overwhelming but it’s been an incredible experience so far.”

    – Dunn, 17, on his first Paralympic experience

     

    “I feel we’re a strong team and we’ve worked really hard to get where we are. It’s nice seeing us progressing and getting better every day. Looking  at Norway, we expect a good hard game again; we just need to do our best to stick to our systems and play hard.”

                – Delaney on the team’s effort through two games

    Canada closes out the preliminary round Monday (2:30 a.m. ET/11:30 p.m. PT) against Norway.

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