GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) scored twice and added a pair of assists, sending Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team to the gold medal game at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games with a 7-0 semifinal win over Korea on Thursday.
The Canadians are into the final for the first time since winning gold in 2006; they will face either the United States or Italy for gold on Saturday (11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).
Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) also scored twice, and had an assist, while Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) chipped in with a goal and two helpers.
After a pair of early chances were turned away by Korean netminder Jae Woong Lee it was Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) who got the scoring started just past the four-minute mark, driving to the net and beating Lee for the 1-0 goal.
Cozzolino doubled the lead less than two minutes later when his centering pass hit a Korean stick and eluded Lee.
A pair of quick strikes late in the opening frame put the game out of reach; Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) jammed in a loose puck at the side of the net at 13:25, and Bridges went top shelf on the short side 54 seconds after that to send Canada to the dressing room up 4-0.
Bridges had the lone goal of the second period, sneaking a shot along the ice and past Lee for a power-play marker and a five-goal advantage.
McGregor netted both goals in the final frame to finish the festivities; he took a cross-ice feed from Westlake and whipped a left-handed shot past Lee at 5:48, and got his second while falling down with less than three minutes to go.
Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) got the start in the Canadian goal and made one save in the first 30 minutes before giving way to Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.), who stopped one shot in the third period.
Canada continued its defensive dominance; it has yet to allow a goal, and has given up only 13 shots in four games.
“We had some chances early and finally we got the first one and that seemed to get us going more. I thought our best period of the whole game was our first period and that set the stage for the rest of the game.”
– Ken Babey, head coach of Team Canada
“We were tight early, the first five or six shots we took missed the net. Nobody got frustrated and the bench was really positive which is what you need in big games. Eventually we broke through and got the first one, the next and then we got rolling and that’s a good lesson going into the next game.”
– Greg Westlake, Team Canada captain
“One of the things we’ve been working on for the last three years has been the execution of the game plan. Everyone today was playing great both offensively and defensively, but I think I’m most proud of this team the way that we’re playing defence and the way we’re playing a two-way game. The goalies have had chances against them and they’ve been standing on their head and playing great.”
– Bridges, three points (two goals, one assist) in the semifinal