Adam Dixon scored in regulation time and later again in the shootout, giving Canada the 3-2 extra-time win over the USA. The victory put the Canadians in first place as the preliminary rounds concluded on day three Wednesday (20 January) of the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
The win means Canada will face South Korea in Thursday’s (21 January) second semi-final at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (19:00 AT). The USA will take on Russia in the early game (14:00 AT), a repeat of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games final.
Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson finished with 27 saves, the second-most in one game in tournament history. He also stopped three of four US players in the shootout.
After losing all five games to the US last season at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, the Canadians broke through against the defending Paralympic and world champions.
“We haven’t lost a game in two years so this will be good for us to come down the mountain a little bit,” said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the US National Sled Hockey Team. “You don’t have to win every game in these tournaments; just the right ones and tomorrow becomes the right one. Hopefully we’ll face them again.”
Canada took the early lead. Brad Bowden carried the puck into the US zone and circled the net before finding Billy Bridges, who beat US goaltender Steve Cash just 41 seconds after the puck dropped.
The USA pulled even 3:36 into the second period when Declan Farmer snuck a shot past Watson from the low slot. But 10 seconds later, Dixon restored Canada’s lead.
A quick penalty just 16 seconds after Dixon’s goal gave the US the power play, and Paul Schaus needed only 28 seconds on the man advantage to make it a 2-2 game and finish a busy stretch of three goals in 54 seconds.
The US held a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal in a scoreless third period, and had four shots in overtime, compared to just one for Canada.
Canada got on the board first on their second shot thanks to Tyler McGregor. But Farmer answered back on the next US opportunity.
Dixon was turned away on Canada’s third shot. But after Watson made a huge stop on Farmer, the defenceman made good on his second chance, giving the Canadians their first win over the US since 9 January 2014, a span of eight games.
Competition concludes Saturday (23 January) with the medal matches.
A live stream, full results and statistics are available at Hockey Canada’s website.