CANADA BLANKS NORWAY, OFF TO SEMIS AT PARALYMPICS
JASON LA ROSE
GANGNEUNG, South Korea - Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) and Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) led the way with two goals apiece, helping Canada's Paralympic Hockey Team finish a perfect preliminary round at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games with an 8-0 win over Norway on Monday.
The victory clinches top spot in Group A for the Canadians, and sends them through to the semifinals. They will wait for the end of prelim play on Tuesday to find out who they will face in the semis.
Armstrong added an assist for a three-point performance, while Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.), Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) and Liam Hickey (St. John's, N.L.) had a goal and a helper each.
Just as it did in wins over Sweden and Italy, Canada struck early; Bridges wired a rocket upstairs on Norwegian goaltender Kjell Christian Hamar to make it 1-0 just 2:33 after the puck dropped.
Armstrong jumped in off the blue-line to double the lead at 8:47, taking a feed from Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) and snapping a quick shot past the glove of Hamar.
The Canadians were dominant in the second period, outshooting Norway 14-0, but struggled to build on their lead; Bowden and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) both hit posts before the floodgates finally opened.
Hickey netted the 3-0 goal on the power play at 11:50, going hard and low under Hamar, Bowden snuck in a harmless-looking shot from the point 64 seconds later and Armstrong swept in his second goal from his stomach at 13:49, finishing a three-goals-in-1:59 onslaught that sent Canada to the dressing room up 5-0.
The third period was a clinic in offensive efficiency, with the Canadians scoring three times on five shots.
Bridges powered his way to the net and got his second of the game early in the final frame before special teams took over.
Westlake potted a power-play marker midway through the period off a McGregor set-up, and McGregor raced away for a shorthanded goal four-and-a-half minutes after that, tucking right-handed shot around Hamar to finish the scoring.
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) faced only one shot through the first two periods but had to be sharp in the third, twice denying Norwegian legend Rolf Einar Pedersen on point-blank chances to preserve the shutout.
The Canadians were dominant in the preliminary round, outscoring their three opponents 35-0 and holding a massive 88-11 advantage in shots on goal.