Calgary 2024: USA, Canada to fight for A-Pool Worlds gold medal

The Americans, who are the defending champions, beat Czechia 3-1 while the hosts overcome China 2-1 to book their seventh consecutive gold-medal game at the A-Pool Worlds while the losing semi-finalists will play the bronze medal game 11 May 2024
Players compete in a game
Four-time world champion Chris Douglas (left) scored twice in USA's 3-1 victory over Czechia at WinSport Arena on Friday.
ⒸErica Perreaux / Hockey Canada Images / WPIH
By Stuart Lieberman I For World Para Ice Hockey

Host nation Canada and defending champions USA won their semi-final contests on Friday (10 May) to advance to the gold-medal game at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool in Calgary, Canada. 

It will be the seventh consecutive gold-medal game at the A-Pool tournament between the North American rivals while Czechia and China will now challenge each other in the bronze-medal contest — a rematch of the third-place game from last year.

Canada 2, China 1

Canada narrowly defeated China, 2-1, to move to its seventh consecutive final and will now aim to grab gold for the first time since 2017.

China originally stunned the host nation early on in the contest when Jin-Tao Tian fired a rocket of a shot on the power play from under his sledge with 3:13 remaining in first period off a helper from Hong-Guan Li. It marked Tan’s third goal of the tournament.

With a scoreless second period, China maintained its lead heading into the final 15 minutes of the game. 

Canada refused to lose on its home ice, though, coming out hot in the third period as Micah Kovacevich — who has been playing the sport since age 10 — leveled the score with a goal off a pass from Auren Halbert 1:19 into the frame. Less than two minutes later, Ontario’s Dominic Cozzolino scored his sixth goal of the tournament, assisted by captain Tyler McGregor and assistant captain Liam Hickey. That would go on to be the game-winning score.

Canadian goaltender Adam Kingsmill, who is studying athletic therapy at the Mount Royal University in Calgary, had 14 saves on the night, including several big ones late to close out the game.

Wei Weing had 15 stops for China, which will now skate for its first A-Pool medal in the bronze-medal game.

USA 3, Czechia 1

Earlier in the day, the USA advanced to its ninth straight gold-medal game in the A-Pool with a 3-1 victory over Czechia at WinSport Arena.

Four-time world champion Chris Douglas opened the scoring for the Americans midway through the first period after the puck was poked off the stick of Declan Farmer to give the USA an early advantage. 

Following a scoreless second stanza, Czechia’s Martin Zizlavsky tied up the score just over five minutes into the third period. Malik Jones responded less than two minutes later for USA, batting the go-ahead goal from outside the crease. Czechia failed to capitalise on three other shots on goal in the period, as Douglas provided an insurance goal for the USA with 20 seconds remaining in the game.

Griffin Lamarre, competing in his second A-Pool tournament, played all 45 minutes in front of the net for the USA, recording six saves. Two-time Paralympian Martin Kudela had 19 saves for Czechia. 

USA will now play for a record-extending seventh world title, while Czechia will play for its second consecutive bronze medal at the event.

What’s coming on Day Five? 

The placement games will take center stage in Calgary on Saturday (11 May) when Japan faces Italy for seventh place at 13:30 local time followed by Slovakia versus Korea in the fifth-place game at 17:30. The USA, Canada, China and Czechia will have the day off before the medal round on Sunday (12 May).

How to follow?

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