Game Summary
Canada 5 - Norway 0


VANCOUVER – Canada's road to the gold medal game in Paralympic sledge hockey should be a little easier after Tuesday night, but head coach Jeff Snyder isn't taking anything for granted.

The hosts beat Norway 5-0 in their final round-robin game, clinching top spot in Group B and avoiding the high-power Americans in the semifinals.

Canada will now face Japan on Thursday, with a possible showdown for gold with the U.S. looming.

“You come here and your goal is to win a gold medal and you can't get to the gold medal obviously until you win that semifinal,” said Snyder.

“So I think we've really got to make sure that we're just concentrating on Japan.”

 Game notes |

Canada jumped on Norway early, with Billy Bridges scoring on the power play just 31 seconds in off a feed from Adam Dixon.

Greg Westlake, the tournament's leading goal-scorer, made it 2-0 when he drove to the net, took a pass from Brad Bowden, and rifled a shot home.

Bowden snapped a wrist shot just inside the far post 11 seconds into the middle period to give Canada a commanding 3-0 lead.

Westlake, who added another goal in the second period and now has seven in three games, said he's not going to let anything keep him away from gold in Vancouver, never mind a lapse in focus.

“I'm having the time of my life here. This is what we've wanted for so long and I'm not going to cower away from it now,” he said.

“We have a good enough staff and a mature enough team that (focus won't be an issue).”

Japan finished second in Group A, but its wins came against the Czech Republic and Korea, two teams hardly regarded as sledge hockey powerhouses.

Fuelled by a boisterous flag-waving capacity crowd, Canada was relentless on the forecheck and physically dominated the Norwegians.

“That was our gameplan right from the start, get on top of them,” said Canada's Raymond Grassi.

“They've got a lot of guys who play quite a few minutes so for us to be really physical against them, the same way we were against Sweden in the last game really makes a difference, it really tires them out.”

Grassi said he doesn't believe his teammates will look beyond the Japanese and suffer a semifinal letdown.

“We came here with five games to play, the opponent didn't matter.”

Norway, which Canada beat in the gold medal game in Turin and again at the world championships in 2008, came into the Paralympics expected to challenge for gold.

However, the Norwegians – who will face the U.S. in the other semifinal – squeaked out a 2-1 shootout win over Sweden in their first round-robin game, and beat Italy 2-1 in their second.

Canada, on the other hand, beat Sweden 10-1 and Italy 4-0 and Snyder said his team is getting stronger with each game.

“We had some jitters that first game against Italy and kind of struggled a little for the first two periods. And then we had a good third period and really opened it up and I think that's really carried over in the last two games,” he said.

“I thought we played one of the most dominant games in a long time. We were so good on both ends of the ice (against Norway).”

Canadian captain Jean Labonte said the fan response might well have had something to do with his team's dominating performance.

“To play in front of such great crowds ... that's really motivating,” he said.

“We're not used to playing in such large crowds.”

Game Information/Renseignements sur le match
Event/Événement Paralympic Winter Games Location/Emplacement Vancouver, B.C.
Date Tues. Mar. 16, 2010 Arena/Aréna UBC Thunderbird Arena
Time/Heure 08:30 pm PT Attendance/Assistance -,---
Round/Ronde Preliminary Game #/No du match 12

Box Score/Compte

Goals/Penalties - Buts/Pénalités
First Period/Première période

Goals/Buts : 
00:31 CAN Billy Bridges (Adam Dixon, Brad Bowden) PP/AN
07:14 CAN Greg Westlake (Brad Bowden) SH/DN

Penalties/Pénalités : 
00:16 NOR Morten Vaernes (Hooking/Accrocher)
01:50 CAN Jean Labonté (Holding/Retenir)
03:56 CAN Greg Westlake (Roughing/Rudesse)
04:09 NOR Helge Bjornstad (Holding/Retenir)
06:48 CAN Billy Bridges (Roughing/Rudesse)
07:35 CAN Ray Grassi (Roughing/Rudesse)

07:35 NOR Rolf Pederson (Roughing/Rudesse)

Second Period/Deuxième période

Goals/Buts : 
00:11 CAN Brad Bowden (Graeme Murray)
03:46 CAN Greg Westlake (Brad Bowden, Billy Bridges) PP/AN
11:04 CAN Adam Dixon (Jean Labonte, Todd NicholsonPP/AN

Penalties/Pénalités : 
01:24 CAN Graeme Murray (Roughing/Rudesse)
03:24 NOR Rolf Pederson (High Sticking/Bâton élevé)
09:48 NOR Kjell Vidar Royne (Interference/Obstruction)
12:18 NOR Thomas Jacobsen (Roughing/Rudesse)

Third Period/Troisième période

Goals/Buts : 

Penalties/Pénalités : 
06:06 NOR Loyd Remi Johansen (Roughing/Rudesse)

Goaltenders CAN Paul Rosen
Gardiens de but NOR Roger Johansen; Kissinger Deng (in 2nd/11:05)
Shots on Goal Team 1 p 2 p 3 p Ttl
Shots on Goal CAN 4 6 2 12
Tirs au but NOR 4 0 4 8
Referee/Arbitre ---
Linesmen/Juges des lignes ---
For more information:
Adam Crockatt Manager, National Men's Teams | Responsable, équipe nationale masculine (hockey sur luge)