CANADA DEFENDS SLEDGE GOLD WITH ROUT OF NORWEGIANS
JASON LA ROSE
TURIN, Italy – Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) led the way with a hat trick and two assists, and Canada’s National Sledge Team won gold at the 2017 International Para Hockey Tournament with an 8-1 win over Norway on Saturday.
It’s the second consecutive gold at the event for the Canadians, who also took the top prize in 2015.
Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) scored twice and added three assists to join McGregor with a five-point performance, while Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) chipped in with two goals and two helpers.
Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) had the other Canadian goal.
It didn’t take McGregor long to get the scoring started; just 30 seconds after the puck dropped, he circled out of the corner and whipped a quick shot past Norwegian goaltender Kjell Christian Hamar for a 1-0 lead.
But the Scandinavians responded quickly, with Morten Værnes sneaking behind the Canadian defence before beating goaltender Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) to tie the game at 2:50.
That would be the last of the offence from Norway, which failed to sustain any kind of pressure in the Canadian zone and had its shots on goal kept to a minimum – just one the rest of the way.
Dixon restored the lead for Canada just past the 10-minute mark of the opening frame, taking a pretty pass from behind the net by Westlake, before adding his second just over three minutes later, picking the top corner over Hamar from just inside the blue-line.
McGregor finished the first-period scoring in the final minute, netting his second of the stanza off a slick set-up from Dixon to send the Canadians to the dressing room up three goals.
Westlake did all the damage in the second period; the Canadian captain redirected a Dixon shot to make it 5-1 at 8:47, and jumped on a turnover at the Norwegian blue-line to score shorthanded for a 6-1 lead not even two minutes after that.
With Canada well on its way to gold, it added two more goals in the third period while outshooting Norway 14-1 in the final 15 minutes, and 31-2 overall.
Cozzolino pushed the advantage to six goals just 29 seconds into the final frame, tapping in a cross-crease feed from McGregor, and McGregor finished his hat trick with 3:25 left, wiring a quick shot just under the crossbar.
McGregor ended his week with a tournament-leading 14 points (six goals, eight assists), just ahead of Dixon (7-5—12) and Westlake (4-8—12).
The Canadians outscored the opposition 29-2 in their five wins.