LONDON, Ont. (Hockey Canada)– Canada’s National Para Hockey Team took home their sixth silver medal at the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup, after a back-and-forth 5-4 loss to the United States Saturday night at the Western Fair Sports Centre.
“We’ve got a new team here, a lot of young players,” said head coach Ken Babey (Saskatoon, Sask.), who was happy with his team despite the gold medal loss. “We played our best game tonight, and we got better every day. We saw a lot of improvement in our young team, they got some valuable experience in that fast game, and I’m encouraged by the leadership that was shown by our veteran players, especially in tonight’s gold medal game.”
In an edge-of-your-seat gold-medal game, the Canadians struck first with a goal from Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) nearly four minutes into the game. The cross-border rivals combined for five goals in the second period, including goals from Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) to be tied at three through 30 minutes. Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) would pull the Canadians even with the U.S. again in the final frame before the Americans scored the eventual game winner halfway through the 3rd period.
Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) was a standout performer, facing 24 shots and making several spectacular saves in front of the home crowd.
“I think the entire team was really putting it all on the line, and really showing our conditioning today,” said Bridges who was named player of game with one goal and two assists. “These guys have been working so hard since August, and that was evident today, from puck drop all the way to the end.”
Canada finished the preliminary-round with a 2-3 record, defeating Korea twice. The three-team tournament provided edge-of-your-seat action for fans over the 6 days competition, featuring the top three medalists from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The week also brought a special opportunity to 11-year-old Chadd Stoppa and his family. Born with spina bifida, the Stoppa family worked with the Sunshine foundation to make his wish come true, to meet his heroes on Team Canada. Chadd practiced with the team, was able to sit in on pre-and-post game coaches talks, and was given his own stall in the Canadian lockerroom. In addition, more than 1500 school kids also attended the tournament to experience the sport of Para Hockey, some for the first time.