Calgary 2024: Canada upset USA for historic gold medal

The hosts record a 2-1 win over top seeds for their first A-Pool Worlds title in seven years while Czechia slip past China for second consecutive bronze medal, at WinSport Arena in Calgary 13 May 2024
Players celebrate
Canada became only the third team to win an A-Pool gold medal on its home ice, joining Sweden (1996) and the USA (2015).
ⒸErica Perreaux / Hockey Canada Images / WPIH
By Stuart Lieberman I For World Para Ice Hockey

After three straight runner-up finishes against its arch rivals, Canada finally upset no.1-seeded USA to win gold on its home ice at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool in Calgary on Sunday (12 May).

The astounding victory marked Canada’s fifth world title in the sport and first since 2017, breaking the USA dynasty, as the Americans were left to settle for silver at WinSport Arena for the first time in seven years.

Czechia, earlier in the day, slipped past China by one goal to claim its second consecutive bronze medal on the world stage.

Gold-Medal Game: Canada 2, USA 1

Canada went undefeated in Calgary en route to gold, outscoring its opponents 38-3, capped off by a 2-1 win over USA in the gold-medal game to clinch a historic world title. In doing so, Canada became only the third team to win an A-Pool gold medal on its home ice, joining Sweden (1996) and the USA (2015).

To open the final, Ontario native Dominic Cozzolino scored from the crease 35 seconds into the game for his seventh goal of the tournament. He became the first player to score on US goaltender Jen Lee in Calgary, giving Canada some much-needed early momentum in front of its home crowd.

Three years removed from making his international debut, Canada’s Anton Jacobs-Webb then recorded arguably the biggest goal of his young career with 5:54 remaining in the second stanza, scoring off a helper from captain Tyler McGregor to double the Canadian lead.

USA star forward Declan Farmer cut into Canada’s lead with 3:41 left in the third period for his tournament-leading 11th goal, but the Americans were unable to score another in remaining minutes despite 14 shots on goal in the final frame.

Goaltender Adam Kingsmill, who lost his right leg in a lawnmower accident as a toddler, proved invaluable in the net for Canada with a string of tough stops to play lights out in the final minutes. He received a standing ovation from the host nation fans after ending the game with 24 saves and a tournament-leading save percentage of 94.44.

Lee had seven stops for USA in the contest. 

Canada or USA has now won every world title dating back to 2008, as Canada inched one gold medal closer to the USA’s record of six.

Bronze-Medal Game: Czechia 3, China 2

The bronze-medal game in Calgary mirrored the exact result on the scoreboard of the third-place game in Moose Jaw one year ago, as Czechia beat China, 3-2, yet again for its second consecutive bronze medal in the A-Pool.

Both of Czechia’s medals in its 10 appearances in the A-Pool event have come in the last two years, as it continues to establish itself as a dominant programme.

In Sunday’s game, it was China that took the lead first as Zhi Dong Wang scored his third goal of the tournament off a rebound from star forward Yi Feng Shen 9:31 into the contest to give his side the early edge. 

Czechia responded four minutes later, not once, but twice, as rising stars Vaclav Hecko and Alex Ohar both found the net within 15 seconds of each other to put Czechia up by one.

In the second period, Czechia’s four-time Paralympian Pavel Kubes scored his first goal of the tournament on a back-door shot; it could not come at a more important time, as it would go on to stand as the game-winning goal.

Zhan Fu Zhu put China back within one 33 seconds after Kubes scored, however, that would be the last score of the game as neither team would find the net for the remainder of the contest. 

Czechia’s Martin Kudela finished with 12 saves, while China’s Yan Zhao Ji recorded seven saves.

With the loss, China finished fourth for the second straight year in the A-Pool.

Tournament Awards 

Farmer was named Most Valuable Player of the World Championships A-Pool for the second consecutive time, leading all skaters with 11 goals and 20 points.

Cozzolino was selected as Best Forward as Canada’s top scorer with seven goals and 10 assists for a total of 17 points.

Josh Pauls, seen visibly consoling his US teammates as captain of the squad following their loss in the final, was honored as Best Defenseman after amassing nine assists and a rating of +16 while on the ice.

Kudela was the Best Goaltender after recording 52 saves, a 2.00 goal against average mark and 83.87 save percentage during the week. 

Complete results and stats from Calgary 2024 are available here.

You can watch all games of the World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool on the Paralympics YouTube channel.