Canada, USA open World Sledge Hockey Challenge with wins

Canada beat South Korea and the USA escaped with a win over Russia at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto. 02 Dec 2013
Canada and South Korea's ice sledge hockey teams

Canada defeated South Korea, 5-2, to open their preliminary round play at the 2013 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Toronto, Canada.

ⒸHockey Canada

In the day’s earlier game, reigning Paralympic champions USA got a scare from Russia, but were able to hold them off with a 2-1 victory.

The World Sledge Hockey Challenge opened on Sunday (1 December) in Toronto, Canada, where IPC One to Watch Greg Westlake led Canada to a 5-2 win over South Korea with a goal and two assists.

The Canadians, current world champions, remained perfect in all-time preliminary round action at the tournament, improving to a 19-0 record since the first puck dropped in 2007.

After a scoreless first period in the host nation’s game, Brad Bowden netted the puck just 6:24 into the second period on a breakaway. Kevin Rempel doubled Canada’s lead before the end of the second period off a tip from Westlake, and then Westlake scored a goal of his own to push Canada ahead, 3-0.

Adam Dixon made it 4-0 less than four minutes later. Seung-Hwan Jung ended Canada’s shutout bid on a power play, snapping a shot just under the crossbar, but then Anthony Gale found the net just 1:13 later to restore Canada’s four-goal advantage.

Young-Jae Cho gave the South Koreans another score with 2.6 seconds reamining in the game.

Despite the loss, the South Koreans became just the third team in 20 tournament games to score more than one goal against the Canadians.

In the day’s earlier game, reigning Paralympic champions USA got a scare from Russia, but were able to hold them off with a 2-1 victory.

Russia scored first in the contest, as Dmitry Lisov slapped the puck past goaltender Steve Cash early in the second period. Tyler Carron got the USA back on even ground at the end of the period to make it 1-1 heading into the final frame.

With 1:37 remaining in the game, Alexi Salamone broke the tie to lead the US to an opening game victory and improve his team’s overall preliminary round record to 11-8.

The Americans finished with a 15-11 advantage in shots on goal.

Next up, Canada will face Russia on Monday (2 December) at 10:00 (EST), while South Korea will take on the USA in the evening at 17:00 (EST).

Fans can to watch the World Sledge Hockey Challenge online on FASTHockey. The gold-medal game will be shown on TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada.

All four of these teams have already qualified for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

For further updates from the tournament and on the road to Sochi 2014, please follow IPC Ice Sledge Hockey on Facebook and Twitter.