Canada take opening win at World Sledge Hockey Challenge

Paralympic and world champions the USA also won their first game against South Korea. 05 Dec 2016
Canada won 3-0 over Norway at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, Canada.

Canada won 3-0 over Norway at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, Canada.

ⒸMatthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images
By USA Hockey and Hockey Canada

“It’s always great to start the season off with a win.”

Greg Westlake, Ben Delaney and Brian Sholomicki scored and Dominic Larocque was perfect in net as Canada opened with a 3-0 win over Norway at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, Canada, on Sunday (4 December).

It was Larocque’s fifth career shutout with the team.

Rob Armstrong, Corbyn Smith, Billy Bridges and James Gemmell all had an assist for Canada.

Kjell Christian Hamar made 18 saves in net for Norway.

Canada has now won all 10 meetings between the teams at the tournament.

Canada took the lead only 2:15 in. Armstrong left a drop pass for Westlake in the left circle; the captain found the far low corner from just above the goal line. Smith picked up the second assist on the goal for his first point with Canada’s national team.

Canada wanted to play a more up-tempo game this season, and its plan was on full display in the form of rookie Liam Hickey who twice in the opening period pulled away from multiple defenders to create scoring chances for himself.

At the same time, Canada limited Norway’s offensive opportunities. It took 9:40 – more than half the first period – for Norway to register its first shot on net.

Already holding most of the momentum throughout the period, Canada added a second goal three seconds before the intermission. Delaney pounced on a loose puck down low for an unassisted tally.

It was all Canada in the second period as well, with the team outshooting Norway 8-1 over the 15 minutes.

Sholomicki finished high off a cross-ice pass from Bridges to make it 3-0 with just over two minutes remaining in that middle frame. The Canadians’ lead could have been more if not for the three posts it hit to that point.

An aggressive Canadian forecheck kept the Norwegians on their heels for most of the game. Norway’s short bench – the team dressed only eight forwards and three defencemen – also did not allow the team to counter with as much energy as the Canadians attacked with.

USA v South Korea, 4-0

Declan Farmer tallied three points (2-1) and Team USA scored four special-teams goals as the USA defeated South Korea, 4-0, in their opening game of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge.

“It’s always great to start the season off with a win,” said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the US team. “We look forward to getting back on the ice tomorrow against Norway.”

Nikko Landeros opened the scoring 6:02 into the first period by converting on Team USA’s first power play opportunity of the tournament. With 54 seconds remaining on the man-advantage, Landeros collected a close feed by Farmer in front of the South Korean goal and fired the puck past their goaltender, Jae-Woong Lee.

The US doubled its lead with just 22 seconds remaining in the opening period off a shorthanded goal by Farmer. The play started when Farmer forced a turnover in the South Korean zone, skated in alone and shot the puck just below the crossbar for the score.

Adam Page netted Team USA’s second power play tally of the game when he found his own rebound to extend Team USA’s lead to 3-0 at 3:56 of the middle stanza.

Farmer tallied his second goal of the game, the third U.S. power-play marker, with 3:20 left in the period to give Team USA a 4-0 lead heading into the second intermission.

Steve Cash finished with seven saves through 35 minutes of play before Bo Reichenbach entered the game for the final five minutes and kept South Korea scoreless to account for the 4-0 win.

Full results can be found at Hockey Canada’s website.

The USA continues preliminary-round action on Monday (5 December) against Norway. Puck drop is set for 11am ET. Canada play South Korea at 7pm.

All games are being streamed live at HockeyTV.