LONDON, Ont. – Canada’s National Para Hockey Team took home its sixth silver medal from the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup after a back-and-forth 5-4 loss to the United States in the gold medal game Saturday night at the Western Fair Sports Centre.
“We’ve got a new team here, a lot of young players,” said head coach Ken Babey (Saskatoon, Sask.), who was happy with his team's performance despite the loss. “We played our best game tonight, and we got better every day. We saw a lot of improvement in our young team, they got some valuable experience in that fast game, and I’m encouraged by the leadership that was shown by our veteran players, especially tonight.”
In an edge-of-your-seat goldmedal game, the Canadians struck first with a goal from Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) less than four minutes into the game. The cross-border rivals combined for five goals in the second period, including markers from Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) as the game wenr to the second intermission tied 3-3. Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) would pull the Canadians even in the third period, but the U.S. converted a mid-period power play for the game-winning goal.
Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) was a standout performer with 19 saves in the Canadian goal, including a number of spectacular stops that kept his team close.
“I think the entire team was really putting it all on the line, and really showing our conditioning today,” said Bridges, who had a goal and two assists. “These guys have been working so hard since August, and that was evident today, from puck drop all the way to the end.”
Canada finished the preliminary-round with a 2-2 record, defeating Korea twice. The three-team tournament provided thrilling action for fans over the six days of competition featuring the three medallists from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The week also brought a special opportunity to 11-year-old Chadd Stoppa and his family. The Stoppa family worked with the Sunshine Foundation to make Chadd's wish to meet his heroes on Team Canada come true. Chadd, who was born with spina bifida, practiced with the team, was able to sit in on pre-and-post game coaches talks, and was given his own stall in the Canadian dressing room. In addition, more than 1,500 school kids also attended the tournament to experience the sport of para hockey, some for the first time.
For more information on the Hockey Canada and Canada’s para hockey programs, visit HockeyCanada.ca and follow along via social media at Facebook and Twitter.