LAST-MINUTE GOALS LEAD CANADA PAST HOSTS AT SLEDGE WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) and Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) scored the goals, helping Canada’s National Sledge Team to a 2-0 win over Korea on Saturday at the 2017 IPC World Para Hockey Championship.
The Canadians remained perfect in four games, and have yet to allow a goal; Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) made five saves to record his second shutout of the tournament.
The clean sheet was a milestone one for Watson; his 26th career shutout moved him past Paul Rosen for the most in national team history. Watson also inched closer in all-time wins – he has 51, just four behind Rosen.
After scoring a record-tying 17 goals in a one-sided win over Sweden less than 24 hours earlier, offence was a little harder to come by for the Canadians to open Day 4 at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.
They managed 14 shots in the first period, but it took until the final minute to finally beat Korean goaltender Man Gyun Yu; Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) found McGregor with a no-look, under-the-sled pass, and he made no mistake with 26 seconds left in the opening frame.
The last minute was good to Canada again in the second period, with Cozzolino finding a loose puck in the slot and beating Yu with just nine seconds to go to double the advantage through 30 minutes.
Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont,) earned the secondary assist on the Cozzolino goal for his 300th career point; he joins Bridges and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) as the only players to reach the milestone.
Yu was terrific in the third period, keeping Canada off the scoresheet. It marked just the second time in the tournament the Canadians went a period without a goal. Yu finished with 30 saves in a standout performance.
At the other end, the Koreans tested Watson despite their low shot total. With Canada nursing a one-goal lead early in the second period, Watson turned away a clear-cut breakaway with a terrific blocker save, keeping the Canadians in front.
The tournament takes a break Sunday, with Canada returning to the ice Monday for the marquee match-up of the preliminary round, taking on the United States (2 a.m. ET/11 p.m. PT).