Canada 9 - Great Britain 0
Canada’s Sledge Hockey Team opened the Paralympic Winter Games with an impressive and convincing 9-0 win over Great Britain. Bradley Bowden, with four goals, and Bryan Bridges, with three markers, paced Canada in front of a boisterous crowd of 3090.
Canada carried the play from the opening whistle, forechecking effectively and keeping Great Britain in its zone for the first two minutes. After a power play which led to numerous chances but no goals, Canada managed to get on the scoresheet at 3:49 of the opening frame as Billy Bridges (Guelph, ON) crossed the blue line and fired a bullet by the Great Britain netminder Philip Saunders.
With Bridges in the penalty box for elbowing, Canada took a 2-0 lead at 6:41. Jeremy Booker (Whitby, ON) stole the puck off the forecheck and spun in front of the goaltender, sliding the puck under Saunders to put Canada up by two goals.
It bears noting that Great Britain’s goaltender Saunders holds the distinction of being the oldest player in sledge hockey at the 2006 Paralympics, at 58 years old.
Great Britain’s defence continued to be under constant pressure, and Canada added a third marker just before the end of the first period. Bradley Bowden (Orton, ON) found Bridges alone in front and Canada’s top scorer this year wasted no time registering his second of the game. Canada’s third goal came at 14:31 of the period. (There are three 15-minute periods in sledge hockey)
Canada went right back to the attack to start the second. Great forechecking led to a turnover, and the puck coming to Bowden, who came from behind the net and found an opening between goaltender Saunders and the post to give Canada a 4-0 lead. At 3:14, Herve Lord (Ottawa, ON) made it 5-0 with a quick shot from the top of the circles that found the top corner over Saunders. Bowden closed out the middle frame with two more goals to make it 7-0 and to register the first hat trick of the Paralympics.
Bowden added a fourth, while Bridges completed the hat trick in the third period, giving Canada a 9-0 win to open the Paralympics. Canada next plays the home Italian side on Sunday, March 12th at 5:00 pm (local). The Canada-Italy game is sold out. With a win, Canada is guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals.
For more information:
Adam Crockatt Manager, National Men's Teams | Responsable, équipe nationale masculine (hockey sur luge)