CANADA OPENS WITH SHUTOUT OVER NORWAY
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.), Ben Delaney (Ottawa, Ont.) and Bryan Sholomicki (Winnipeg, Man.) scored, Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) was perfect in net and Canada’s National Sledge Team opened with a 3-0 win over Norway at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
It was Larocque’s fifth career shutout with the team.
Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.), Corbyn Smith (Monkton, Ont.), Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) and James Gemmell (Quesnel, B.C.) all had an assist.
Kjell Christian Hamar made 18 saves in net for Norway.
Canada has now won all 10 meetings between the teams at the tournament.
Canada took the lead only 2:15 in. Armstrong left a drop pass for Westlake in the left circle; the captain found the far low corner from just above the goal line. Smith picked up the second assist on the goal for his first point with Canada’s National Sledge Team.
Canada wanted to play a more up-tempo game this season, and its plan was on full display in the form of rookie Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L), who twice in the opening period pulled away from multiple defenders to create scoring chances for himself.
At the same time, Canada limited Norway’s offensive opportunities. It took 9:40 – more than half the first period – for Norway to register its first shot on net.
Already holding most of the momentum throughout the period, Canada added a second goal three seconds before the intermission. Delaney pounced on a loose puck down low for an unassisted tally.
It was all Canada in the second period as well, with the team outshooting Norway 8-1 over the 15 minutes.
Sholomicki finished high off a cross-ice pass from Bridges to make it 3-0 with just over two minutes remaining in that middle frame. The Canadians’ lead could’ve been more if not for the three posts it hit to that point.
An aggressive Canadian forecheck kept the Norwegians on their heels for most of the game. Norway’s short bench – the team dressed only eight forwards and three defencemen – also didn’t allow the team to counter with as much energy as the Canadians attacked with.