U.S. CLAIMS FIFTH-STRAIGHT TITLE AT PARA CUP
LONDON, Ont. – Jack Wallace had two goals and an assist, Josh Sweeney added two helpers and the United States edged Canada 5-4 Saturday to win gold at the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup.
It’s the fifth gold medal in a row for the Americans, who have topped the podium at seven of the 12 editions of the tournament dating back to 2007.
Canada opened the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal from Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.), who tipped in a cross-ice feed from Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) just 3:45 in.
The Americans had a glorious chance to even up the scoring in the first with a long five-on-three, but Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) made several incredible saves on point-blank opportunities to keep Canada up a goal after 15 minutes.
The U.S. came out firing in the second, scoring two quick goals to take a 2-1 lead. Brody Roybal was first with a breakaway goal, beating Watson to the glove side, before Josh Pauls who cut into the middle and roofed it for the first U.S. lead.
The advantage was short-lived as Bridges and Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) scored 10 seconds apart to restore a one-goal lead for Canada. Bridges’ goal was a shot along the ice from the top of the right face-off circle, and Hickey took a pass from Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) and stuff his own rebound home to make it 3-2.
Canada looked to take that lead into the second intermission, but Wallace fired a laser beam past Watson to tie the game with just 34 seconds left in the middle frame.
Kyle Zych tipped home a shot from Noah Grove 79 seconds into the third period to put the Americans ahead again, but McGregor pulled Canada even less than five minutes later, taking a gorgeous pass from Bridges and rifling it top corner to make it 4-4 on the power play.
The game-winning goal came off the stick of Wallace midway through the final stanza. On the power play, Sweeney won the face-off and tipped it over to Kevin McKee, who fed Wallace in the slot for a quick shot under the arm of Watson.
Canada pulled the goalie late looking for the equalizer, and nearly found it with a last-second shot from McGregor, but U.S. netminder Steve Cash was able to turn it aside and secure the win for the Americans, who have now won 17 games in a row at the tournament dating back to 2016.