Indian Trail, N.C.
CANADA EDGES U.S. IN PARA OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. – Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) and Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) had a goal and an assist apiece, Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) scored the winner and Canada’s National Para Hockey Team held off a late push to earn a 4-3 win over the United States on Friday in the opener of a two-game series.
Corbyn Smith (Monkton, Ont.) had the other goal for the Canadians, who ended a three-game losing streak against their North American rivals.
Canada got its offence going early when Smith redirected in a feed from Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) less than six minutes in, but the U.S. struck on both halves of a two-man advantage late in the first period.
Jack Wallace was first, hammering a one-timer past goaltender Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que) at 10:48, and Brody Roybal gathered in a long pass from Declan Farmer before beating Larocque on a breakaway at 12:13 to put the Americans up 2-1 after one.
The Canadian power play went to work in the second period; McGregor found his own rebound and beat U.S. netminder Jen Lee with a quick shot to tie the game, and Cozzolino worked his way to the slot before snapping home the 3-2 goal less than three minutes after that.
Hickey added what proved to be the game-winning goal with a shorthanded effort five minutes into in the third period, fighting down the left wing and wiring a shot upstairs on Lee to make it 4-2.
Rico Roman knocked down an errant pass at the Canadian blue-line and set up Luke McDermott to get the Americans back within one with 5:55 to go, but they would get no closer.
Larocque finished with 12 saves in the win; the U.S. outshot Canada 15-10 overall.
The two teams are right back at it Saturday in the series finale, with puck drop set for 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.