LONDON, Ont. – Two goals from Declan Farmer helped the United States to a 4-1 win over Canada on Thursday in the second and final preliminary-round game between the long-time rivals at the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup.
It didn’t take the Americans long to open the scoring, getting on the board 2:22 into the opening frame. Noah Grove broke into the Canadian zone on a breakaway before passing it over to Farmer in the slot, who whipped it in for the 1-0 goal.
Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) answered back for Canada midway through the opening frame. With a scramble in front, Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I) poked a shot towards the net. Steve Cash sprawled to make the save, but Cozzolino was able to pounce on the puck and put it in just past the outstretched American netminder.
It looked like the two teams would finish the period even, but with the U.S. killing a penalty Farmer forced a turnover in the Canadian end and flipped in the eventual game-winning goal.
“It’s something you dream about as a kid, playing hockey and scoring wearing a Team Canada jersey against the States. It’s a pretty special feeling every time you get one in the net.”
– Dominic Cozzolino on his goal
“To get that many shots in a game, for me, is good practice, because generally other teams don’t get that many chances (at scoring). When we play against the U.S. there’s more chances to improve myself and perform for my team.”
– Dominic Larocque on his performance
“I thought it was a good learning experience for our team. I was proud of their work ethic, and they showed a lot of courage because it was a physical game both ways. For me as coach, I was proud of the guy’s work ethic, saw some good efforts, and that sets us up for the gold medal game.”
– Head Coach Ken Babey (Saskatoon, Sask.) on his team’s game-play
The lone goal in the second period came off the stick of Kevin McKee. After his initial shot was stopped by Canadian goaltender Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.), McKee got a stick on the rebound to put the Americans up by two.
The U.S. finished the scoring with 33 seconds left in the game; Josh Pauls stole the puck off a Canadian and deked through the defence before wiring it into the back of the net.
With the win, the United States clinched top spot in the preliminary round, while Canada will finish second. The two teams will meet again Saturday in the gold medal game (4 p.m. ET), but the U.S. will first look to finish a perfect prelims when it takes on Korea on Friday (12 p.m. ET).