Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) scored the goals as Canada’s National Para Hockey Team finished in an entertaining 2-2 tie with the United States in the opener of their two-game series Thursday.
In the 100th meeting between the cross-border rivals since para hockey joined the Hockey Canada family in 2004, it was the first game that didn’t have a winner – Canada still leads the all-time series 57-42-1.
Bridges opened the scoring six minutes into the first period, counting his 190th career goal. That stood up until the third period, when the teams opened up the offence.
Brody Roybal needed just 2:07 of the final frame to get the U.S. even, but Armstrong scored with just over six minutes left to restore the Canadian advantage.
That looked to be enough to end Canada’s five-game losing streak to the Americans, but Declan Farmer beat Canadian goaltender Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) with 64 ticks remaining to force overtime.
Larocque was the story in the extra period, making four point-blank stops.
Auren Halbert (Calgary, Alta.) and Josh Pauls traded goals in the three-round shootout, but the teams could not determine a winner.
The series wraps up Saturday night at the Woolwich Memorial Centre (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).
“I think as a team we’ve had a lot of growth this week – playing for each other, doing what we can do and not worrying on who’s on the other side of the ice – and we could see it start to happen today. We weren’t worried or scared, we were just playing hockey; it doesn’t matter what the guys across from us are wearing, we wanted to play our game.”
– Bridges on facing the U.S.
“Any way I can help our team, I’m happy. The goalie went to play the puck in the corner, and I got myself into a good position and put it in. We really wanted to focus on our first five minutes and come out physical, and I’m really happy I was able to help the team on the board.”
– Armstrong on his go-ahead goal
“I thought we played a good game, and the guys adjusted to some tactical changes really well. Our young players learned a lot and played more minutes than they’re used to, so it was some great experience for them. It’s going to be a really good game on Saturday, and I look forward to seeing the improvements continue.”
– Head coach Ken Babey (Calgary, Alta.) on his team’s play