Monday, 25 February 2008

Sledging Along

A big congratulations goes out today to the Canadian National Men's Sledge Hockey Team who defeated the USA in a warm-up three-game series over the weekend by a 2-1 margin. The warm-up was to prepare for the upcoming World Sledge Hockey Championships at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts at the end of March. Both teams will be participating in the A-pool at the World Championships, with the USA looking to win gold for the first time at the Worlds. Canada will be looking to win their second gold medal at the World Championships.

Game One went to the Americans who handed the Canadians their second loss in 11 games thus far this season. Canadian star Billy Bridges opened the scoring 86 seconds into the game on a pass from Greg Westlake. Taylor Lipsett responded for Team USA with 1:16 left in the first to tie the game at one goal apiece. The two clubs battled through the next two periods and overtime deadlocked at one, thanks to key saves made by Canadian goalie Paul Rosen and American goalie Steve Cash. In the shootout, American Alexi Salamone scored the winner to give Team USA a 2-1 shootout win, and a 1-0 advantage in the series.

Game Two saw the two teams battle in another tight match. The first period saw the two teams battle to a 0-0 tie, with Canada holding the edge in shots by a 7-4 margin. The second period saw Bradley Bowden open the scoring for the Canadians as he beat Steve Cash four minutes into the middle frame. Todd Nicholson extended the lead for Canada two minutes later with his goal. Derek Whitson scored his first national team goal early in the third period to give the Canadians a commanding 3-0 lead. The Americans battled back to break Benoît St-Amand's shutout with Taylor Chace recording the goal at the midway point of the third. The Americans moved within a goal when Alexi Salamone scored at the 11:47 mark to make it 3-2 Canada, but the Canadian defence held strong the rest of the way to even the series at one game apiece.

The Game Three rubber match started the same as the previous two games did with Canada scoring first. Graeme Murray converted a Mark Noot pass into a goal as he beat American goaltender Mike Blabac nine minutes into the first period. Dany Verner made it 2-0 at 9:41 of the second period on an unassisted effort. Billy Bridges scored his tenth goal of the season three minutes later with Bradley Bowden picking up the assist. Bridges notched his second of the game and eleventh of the season 51 seconds into the third on a pass from Greg Westlake. Canada rounded out the scoring on a powerplay goal by Bowden, with assists going to Westlake and Bridges. Benoît St-Amand made 14 saves in the game to secure the 5-0 shutout of the Americans.

The Canadians push their record to 11-2 this season and have yet to lose in regulation. Along with the USA and Canada, the other A-pool teams at the World Championships include Germany, Italy, Japan, and sledge hockey powerhouse Norway. You can find the full schedule here of all the games being played.

Good luck to all the teams at the World Championships! For more information on Sledge Hockey, please check out Sledge Hockey Dad or the Sledge Hockey Wikipedia page. These are great resources.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's another source of online channel where Ice Sledge Hockey games are to be seen. :)