CANADA DROPS OT NAILBITER, TAKES SILVER AT PARALYMPICS
JASON LA ROSE
GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.) scored late in the first period and Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) was spectacular in goal, but Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to the United States in the gold medal game Sunday at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The Canadians were less than a minute from their first Paralympic gold since 2006 before Declan Farmer pulled the Americans even with an extra attacker on the ice.
Canada came out with the momentum, holding the U.S. without a shot on goal in the first period, and taking a lead to the intermission after Bridges took a cross-ice feed from Ben Delaney (Ottawa, Ont.) and powered a shot off the blocker of American goaltender Steve Cash and in with 2:54 left in the first.
Larocque made that goal stand up through a busy second period, making eight of his 14 saves as the U.S. found its offensive game in the middle frame. Canada managed three shots on Cash in the second, but couldn’t add to its lead.
The defensive stalemate continued into the final 15 minutes, with Larocque calmly turning away the Americans, while Cash did much of the same at his end of the ice.
The U.S. netminder went to the bench with just over a minute to go, and the Canadians came inches from an insurance marker when Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) hit the post from just inside the face-off dot.
The Americans quickly went back the other way and a loose puck in front found its way onto the stick of Farmer, who roofed a shot past an outstretched Larocque to make it a 1-1 game with 37.8 seconds left.
The Canadian puck-stopper made perhaps his best save of the game early in overtime, diving to his right to get his head on a shot by Farmer, but the American ended it just minutes later, going high over the blocker for the game-winning goal.
Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) finished as the top Canadian scorer with 13 points (eight goals, five assists), good for third in Paralympic scoring, while Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) got the nod as Top Defenceman from the tournament directorate.