Americans clinch top spot in preliminary round with win over Canada

It is now certain it will be a Canada-U.S. final on Saturday at 4 p.m. (broadcast live on TSN5)

LONDON, Ont. – Two goals from Declan Farmer helped the United States to a 4-1 win over Canada on Thursday at the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup.

With the win, the Americans clinch first place in the preliminary round. It is now certain it will be a Canada-U.S. final on Saturday at 4 p.m. (broadcast live on TSN5).

“I thought it was a good learning experience for our team,’’ said Canada’s head coach Ken Babey on Thursday’s game. ‘’I was proud of their work ethic, and they showed a lot of courage because it was a physical game both ways. I saw some good efforts, and that sets us up for the gold medal game.”

It didn’t take the Americans long to open the scoring, getting on the board 2:22 into the opening frame. Noah Grove broke into the Canadian zone on a breakaway before passing it over to Farmer in the slot, who whipped it in for the 1-0 goal.

Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) answered back for Canada midway through the opening frame. With a scramble in front, Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I) poked a shot towards the net. Steve Cash sprawled to make the save, but Cozzolino was able to pounce on the puck and put it in just past the outstretched American netminder.

“It’s something you dream about as a kid, playing hockey and scoring wearing a Team Canada jersey against the States,’’ said Cozzolino. ‘’It’s a pretty special feeling every time you get one in the net.”

It looked like the two teams would finish the period even, but with the U.S. killing a penalty, Farmer forced a turnover in the Canadian end and flipped in the eventual game-winning goal.

The U.S. wraps up the preliminary round against South Korea on Friday (12 p.m. ET).