SPECIAL TEAMS LEAD CANADA PAST RUSSIA AT WSHC
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Rob Armstrong (Mississauga, Ont.), Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) had a goal and an assist each to lead Canada’s National Sledge Team past Russia 5-1 in the opening game for both Sunday at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
Canada’s special teams highlighted the game, going a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play and adding a goal while shorthanded, while killing off all five of Russia’s power-play opportunities.
The Canadians directed just four shots at the Russian goal in the first period, but found the back of the net on three of them, starting with Westlake’s power-play goal just 41 seconds in.
Armstrong doubled the lead, again with the man advantage, at 3:57, and McGregor went under the sled of Ivanov while the Canadians were a man down at 7:42, making it 3-0 and chasing starting goaltender Mikhail Ivanov, who was replaced by Evgenii Plotnikov after allowing three goals on four shots.
The power play struck again with 3:22 gone in the second period; McGregor carried the puck into the Russian zone and circled the net before finding Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.), who snapped a shot past Plotnikov.
Both teams picked up the offence in the middle frame, with more than half of the game’s shots (13 of 25) coming in the period.
The Russians finally beat Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) at 7:59 of the third period when Nikolai Terentev got his shot through traffic and past the Canadian netminder, but Adam Dixon got that one back for Canada just 44 seconds later, beating Plotnikov under the cross-bar.
Canada finished with a 17-8 advantage in shots on goal, getting a small measure of revenge for their upset loss to the Russians in last year’s semifinal in Leduc, Alta.
The Canadians will look to keep their record intact when they face Korea on Monday night (7 p.m. AT), while the Russians are right back to action in a Monday matinee, taking on the United States (noon AT).