Calgary 2024: Semi-final line-up confirmed for A-Pool Worlds

The USA, who remain undefeated to top Group A, will face Group B runner-up Czechia, while Canada, who stay undefeated to top Group B, will take on Group A runner-up China in the semi-finals at WinSport Arena. 08 May 2024
A player in action
Captain Tyler McGregor punched two goals in Canada's 5-1 victory over Czechia in the final round-robin game in Calgary.
Ⓒ Erica Perreaux / Hockey Canada Images / WPIH
By Stuart Lieberman | For World Para Ice Hockey

Round-robin play concluded on Tuesday (7 May) at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool in Calgary, Canada, setting up two thrilling semi-final matchups to come later this week. 

In the preliminary round, the USA went undefeated to win Group A and will face Group B runner-up Czechia, while Canada went undefeated to win Group B and will take on Group A runner-up China in the semi-finals at WinSport Arena.

Meanwhile, a set of stunners unfolded amongst the qualifying teams on the final day of preliminary play.

Slovakia 4, Korea 2

Slovakia pulled a stunner in the day’s first game on Tuesday, coming back from a two-goal deficit to upset Korea, 4-2, and pick up its second-ever win at a World Championships A-Pool.

Dong Shin. Jang and Inchul Yu — both defensemen — scored in the first 10 minutes of the game to give Korea the early edge at the first intermission.

Then, after a scoreless second period, Slovakia’s star forward and captain Martin Joppa found the net twice within a three-minute span early in the third to tie the game up. Slovakia’s assistant captain Miroslav Stask scored on the power-play with five minutes remaining in the game to give his team the lead, and then Joppa completed his hat trick with an insurance goal two minutes later.

Slovakia’s Eduard Lepacek racked up 13 saves, and Korea’s Hyuk-Jun Choi had 19 saves on the day.

Japan 2, Italy 1

The day’s final game delivered another stunner like the first, with reigning B-Pool champions Japan skating past Italy, 2-1, in a thrilling penalty shootout. It marked Japan’s first win at the A-Pool tournament since 2012.

Christoph Depaoli put Italy on the scoreboard first, 51 seconds into the second period, with Masaharu Kumaigai levelling the score on a short-handed shot before the end of the frame.

Neither side was able to capitalise on a shot in the third period nor overtime period, as Kumaigai went on to snatch the game-winning goal in a penalty shootout.

Japan’s Wataru Horie had 26 saves in the game, and Italy’s Julian Kasslatter had 13.

USA 10, China 0

Earlier in the day, defending Paralympic and world champions USA earned a quarter-finals bye after a 10-0 win against China, as Declan Farmer posted seven points and his third-straight hat trick. After Farmer scored the lone goal in the first period, the USA tallied seven scores in the second before adding another pair in the final period. 

The USA went 4-for-6 on the power play, and team captain Josh Pauls had four points in his 200th career game.

Jen Lee played all 45 minutes between the pipes for the winning team, recording three saves, while China’s goaltender Wei Wang had 20 stops.

Canada 5, Czechia 1

The host nation remained undefeated in Calgary with a 5-1 victory over Czechia, as captain Tyler McGregor and James Dunn punched two goals apiece and Liam Hickey added a score in the victory. Dominic Cozzolino had three assists in the game.

Filip Vesely scored the lone goal for Czechia in the first period — his fourth goal in the tournament. 

Adam Kingsmill got the start for Canada in goal, recording 12 saves on the day, while Martin Kudela had nine saves for Czechia. 

What’s coming on Day Four? 

The qualifying round on Wednesday (8 May) will pit Slovakia (1-2) against Italy (0-3) and Japan (1-2) against Korea (0-3), while the USA (3-0), Canada (3-0), China (2-1) and Czechia (2-1) will have the next two days off before returning to the ice for the semi-finals on Friday (10 May).

How to follow?

Watch all the action across World Para Ice Hockey Facebook page, and on the Paralympic Games YouTube.