Canadian Paralympic Committee
Enjoying the benefits of a bye to the semifinals,
Canada’s National Para Hockey Team
will be rested and ready when it takes on RPC in its final-four match-up
Friday at the 2021 IPC World Para Hockey Championship.
For those who maybe haven’t followed along, RPC is the team representing
Russia, which is not allowed to use its name or flag
as per sanctions levied
as a result of a years-long doping scandal.
10-0 win over the Czechs
on Tuesday closed out a perfect preliminary round, with the boys in red and
white outscoring opponents 20-1. Tyler McGregor had his second hat trick of
the tournament and finished with five points, crossing the 150-point
threshold for his career in the process. Zach Lavin also had a hat trick,
while Billy Bridges came through with four assists.
RPC also handled the Czechs with ease, picking up a 7-0 win in the
quarterfinals on Wednesday. Six different Russians scored in the game,
including tournament scoring leader Nikolai Terentev. RPC has the top six
scorers in Ostrava, though the totals are a little skewed thanks to a
blowout 18-1 win over Norway.
Canada and RPC played twice at the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup in
Paradise, N.L. Canada lost a
3-2 shootout decision in the preliminary round
won earned a 3-1 victory in the semifinals
. McGregor had both goals in the defeat, while Rob Armstrong, Dominic
Cozzolino and James Dunn scored in the win. Dominic Larocque made 21 saves
across the two games.
WHAT TO WATCH
Canada’s top line has been excellent through three games, accounting for
roughly 43 per cent of all Canadian offence (20/46). While consistency down
the line-up was thrown off as a result of injuries to Armstrong and Dunn in
the opener, the Canadians will need secondary support in what will be a
tougher test than their previous two games.
RPC, meanwhile, has yet to be challenged. With three lopsided wins in the
preliminary round (7-0, 9-0, 18-1) and another in the quarterfinals, its
defence and goaltending haven’t been tested. Will it be able to hold off
the high-powered Canadians, especially if the scoring can be more balanced?
A LOOK BACK
The teams have met only 10 times (the first coming at the 2013 worlds),
with the record heavily in favour of the Canadians – eight wins. RPC has
only bested Canada twice; in addition to the 2019 game mentioned above, the
Russians downed the Canadians in
the semifinals at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge
It’s the second time the Canadians and Russians have met in the semifinals
at worlds; in 2015, an Adam Dixon goal 17 seconds into the third period
stood up as the winner in
a 3-2 Canadian win
All-time record: Canada leads 8-2
Canada goals: 31
RPC goals: 19