WESTLAKE’S FIVE POINTS LEAD CANADA TO OPENING WIN IN TURIN
TURIN, Italy – Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) led the way with five points as Canada’s National Sledge Team opened the International Ice Sledge Hockey Tournament with a bang on Monday, blanking Korea 8-0.
Westlake gave Canada a 2-0 lead late in the first period, then set up five of the last six goals, including all three from Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.), who had his second hat trick in three days against the Koreans after scoring three times in a 7-1 pre-tournament win on Saturday.
Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) and Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) added a goal and an assist each for the Canadians, while Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Rob Armstrong (Mississauga, Ont.) did the rest of the scoring.
Armstrong’s goal was his first with the national team, and first point.
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) earned the shutout in the Canadian goal.
“The game was a complete 15-man effort,” Armstrong said after the game. “As a group I thought we all competed, and that is what you need in your first game of a tournament.”
Canada was rewarded for its hard work early, with Bridges opening the scoring off a set-up from Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) with just 52 seconds off the clock.
Westlake made it a two-goal advantage on the power play at 13:48 from Dixon and McGregor, sending the Canadians to the dressing room up by a pair after the opening 15 minutes.
"Korea came at us pretty hard in the first period,” said Canadian head coach Ken Babey. “I thought we made great adjustments with the puck that helped us have better second and third periods. It was a good first game for our team."
Bowden pushed the lead to 3-0 just 1:35 into the second period, and Armstrong and McGregor added goals before the 10-minute mark of the middle frame.
Canada continued to press offensively in the third, and Bowden finished off his hat trick with a pair of goals, sandwiched around a Dixon marker with five minutes left.
The Canadians will try for a 2-0 start Tuesday when they face the host Italians at the Palaghiaccio Tazzoli; the puck drops in Turin at 4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT on the first meeting between the teams since the 2013 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship.