Declan Farmer scored two goals, Noah Grove recorded three assists and Kevin McKee registered a goal and a helper to power the United States to a 4-1 victory over Canada on Wednesday night to conclude round-robin play at the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup.
Rico Roman also scored for the U.S. (3-0-0-0), which will duel against the fourth-ranked Czech Republic (0-0-3-0) in the semifinals starting at 12 p.m. NT on Thursday.
Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) replied with the lone goal for Canada, which will battle Russia in the second semifinal of the day starting at 7 p.m. NT.
Steve Cash made 10 saves to earn the win while Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) stopped 13 U.S. attempts in defeat.
Roman put the United States on the scoreboard first just under three minutes into the opening period by cutting into middle lane from the left wing and ripping a hard, high wrist shot by Watson.
Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) nearly tied the game for Canada just two minutes later, but his floating release from the blue line hit the cross bar.
Both teams responded to these early dangerous scoring chances by clamping down defensively for the remaining portion of the stanza.
The U.S. outshot Canada 5-2 in the first 15 minutes of play.
Farmer expanded the United States’ lead over Canada to 2-0 at the 4:41 mark of the frame, beating Watson with a sharp-angle tip of Grove’s centring pass from the left corner.
Canada cut the deficit in half just 2:59 later on a man advantage as McGregor took advantage of a scramble just outside the U.S. crease with a snipe from the slot that connected with the top shelf.
Shots in a back-and-forth second period slightly favoured the U.S. 5-4.
America restored its two-goal edge at 3:31 of the third period with McKee slamming the puck into a gaping Canadian cage after Grove’s initial shot got behind Watson.
The Canadians played with desperation in the attacking zone in a bid to cut into the deficit, particularly with Watson pulled for an extra attacker, but Cash denied every chance that came his way.
Farmer confirmed the victory with an empty-net goal with 1:12 remaining on the clock.
By securing this victory, the United States have now completed the preliminary round at the last six iterations of this competition without a single defeat.
“It’s unfortunate with the loss, but we want to play a physical game with them and I definitely think I got some looks in. We did a lot of things well, and I’m excited to go into that rematch with Russia tomorrow. We’re going to go back, watch some video and build off this game.”
- Corbyn Smith (Monkton, Ont.) on how to move forward
“It was honestly one of the most fun games of para hockey I have ever played. The pace was so high, and I really enjoyed it. Even though we lost, there are a lot of lessons I can learn to continue to improve as a player. I was so proud of the opportunity to get a chance to play them, and I’m excited to play them again.”
– Branden Sison (Edmonton, Alta.) on playing his first game against the United States
“I thought that we got chasing a bit in the first period. We seemed to play better in the second, and the third was our best period. We had some good chances, but I think there are a lot of good things I saw tonight, a few things we can clean up for our game against Russia tomorrow, and we’re just going in to win tomorrow.”