CANADA EARNS GOLD MEDAL BERTH BY DOWNING RUSSIA
QUINTON AMUNDSON PARADISE, N.L. – Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist to vault Canada’s National Para Hockey Team to a 3-1 victory over Russia in the semifinals of the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup on Thursday night.
Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) and James Dunn (Wallacetown, Ont.) also manufactured markers and Liam Hickey (St. John’s N.L.) chipped in two assists for Canada, which will face the United States in the gold medal game on Saturday night (6 p.m. NT, TSN 4). Canada is seeking its first gold medal at the competition, formerly known as the World Sledge Hockey Challenge, since prevailing at the 2013 edition in Toronto.
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) earned the victory between the pipes with a nine-save showing, while Vladimir Kamantsev made 23 saves in defeat for Russia, which will vie for bronze against the Czech Republic on Saturday afternoon (12 p.m. NT).
After engaging in a defensive chess match for the first half of the frame – it took over five minutes before either side registered a shot on goal – the ice opened up to enable rush chances to be exchanged between the two sides.
While Canada prevailed in the match, it was Russia that drew first blood with 5:19 remaining in the period; Vasili Varlakov beat a diving Larocque with a hard, low shot off a 2-on-1 rush with Airat Khamzin.
Armstrong wiped away the lead just 29 seconds later by accepting Cozzolino’s tip pass and slamming the puck past an out-of-position Kamantsev.
Canada outshot Russia 5-4 in the first period.
By spending three-and-a-half of the first four minutes of the second period on the power play, Canada was able to establish control over the flow of play as it generated six shots on net over those two opportunities.
The third man-advantage opportunity of the period proved to be the charm as Cozzolino sailed a rising shot over the stick of a diving Kamantsev for a Canadian power-play goal with 4:32 remaining in the second period.
Canada owned a decisive 13-4 edge on the shot clock in period two.
Dunn provided Canada some insurance close to the four-minute mark of the final frame with a goal-of-the-tournament candidate; the 19-year-old made a couple of flashy spin-o-rama maneuvers out of the left corner to break down the Russian defensive coverage, which led to him beating Kamantsev with an in-tight forehand dangle.
Canada went 1-for-5 on the power play in the match; Russia could not convert on two chances.