PyeongChang 2018: Canada complete group stage shutoutWorld champions achieve dominant triumph over Norway to advance to semis 12 Mar 2018
Canada have ended in the top four teams at every Paralympics since Para ice hockey was introduced at Lillehammer 1994. And PyeongChang 2018 will not be the exception.
The reigning world champions beat Norway 8-0 at the Gangneung Hockey Centre to finish top of Group A with a perfect record of 3-0, scoring a staggering 35 goals and conceding none, and qualifying once again for the semi-finals.
It was also a special victory for Canada as they took revenge on Norway, who had defeated them in the bronze medal game on home soil at Vancouver 2010.
Norway, who had medalled at every Winter Paralympics until Sochi 2014, have a record of 0-1-0-1 and are closer to ending out of the podium for a second time in a row.
Canada were dominant from start to finish, scoring 2:33 into the game through Turin 2006 gold medallist Billy Bridges, his second goal of the tournament. Norway seemed to be slowly progressing in the rink when Paralympic debutant Rob Armstrong doubled the lead.
The score remained unchanged throughout much of the second period due to Canadian forwards´ lack of precision in their shots and some good saves from Norwegian 33-year-old goalkeeper Kjell Christian Hamar.
But Liam Hickey, who competed in wheelchair basketball at Rio 2016, increased the margin to three close to the end. Defence Brad Bowden followed that up with his first goal at PyeongChang 2018 and Armstrong knocked the puck into the net to put it 5-0.
In the final period, Bridges extended the lead with a shot past Hamar´s left side, while Greg Westlake also found the net. Tyler McGregor, considered by many as the world´s best player, scored a short-handed goal to round off Canada´s 8-0 victory.
“It is something I am proud myself of [playing defensively but also contributing offensively], I enjoy getting involved and I can contribute to the team,” said Armstrong. “I think our team has a good system in place, so we want to keep growing with it and execute it the best we can.
“We love the support we are getting here. I think it has not sunk in yet that I am competing at my first Winter Paralympics, it is really exciting.”
Canada will face Group B´s second-placed team next in the semi-finals on Thursday (15 March). At the moment, the USA lead the standings with six points ahead of hosts South Korea (five) but they will face off in a widely expected match on Tuesday (13 March) to decide the group winner. In the second game of the day, Norway will play against Sweden.
Tickets for PyeongChang 2018 can be purchased here.
Every competition as well as the Closing Ceremony can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.