NAGANO, Japan – Canada’s National Sledge Team has won the gold medal at the 2012 Japan Four Nations Tournament, defeating Norway 5-1 in Sunday’s gold medal game.
It’s the third time in four tries the Canadians have brought home gold from the Far East – they won the top prize in 2008 in Asahikawa and 2009 in Nagano, and settled for silver last year in Nagano in a tournament shortened by an earthquake.
Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) led the Canadian offence with two goals and two assists, while Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) scored two goals of his own. Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) had the other Canadian goal, while Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) added one assist to finish as Canada’s top scorer with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in five games.
Benoit St-Amand (St-Hubert, Que.) earned his third win of the tournament in the Canadian goal, making just two saves as Canada outshot Norway 28-3. Including Saturday’s 6-0 semifinal win over Korea, the Canadians allowed just seven shots on goal in their final two games.
Canada finished first in the preliminary round with a perfect 3-0 record, including wins over Korea (3-1), Japan (6-2) and Norway (7-0), before defeating the Koreans in the semifinals.
The gold medal is the second for Canada this season; it opened the 2011-12 season last November, winning gold at the 2011 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Calgary, Alta.
Canada’s National Sledge Team will face the United States in a three-game series in Buffalo, N.Y., at the end of February before travelling to Hamar, Norway, in April for the 2012 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship.