CANADA EDGED BY U.S. IN OPENER AT PARA WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) got the scoring started early in the second period, but Canada’s National Para Hockey Team fell 3-1 to the United States in its curtain-raiser Saturday at the 2019 IPC World Para Hockey Championship.
The game marked the 96th meeting between the North American rivals, including the gold medal games at worlds in 2017 and the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) made 11 saves to keep the Canadians within a goal until the final minutes, but they could not manage to find the tying goal.
Both teams came out slowly in the first period, with Canada outshooting the U.S. 4-2 in the first 15 minutes.
The goals finally came in the second, with three in the opening 6:11.
Westlake got the Canadians on the board at 1:59; Zach Lavin chased down the puck off a lost face-off and centred for the veteran forward, who went to his left hand to beat U.S. goaltender Steve Cash.
Declan Farmer tied it just over two minutes later with the Americans shorthanded, capitalizing on a turnover in the neutral zone to score an unassisted goal, and Chris Douglas raced away to set up Noah Grove on a 2-on-0 and give the U.S. its first lead.
After outshooting the Americans 10-6 through two periods, Canada could manage just a single attempt on goal in the third. The U.S. had an 8-1 advantage in the final 15 minutes, and 14-11 overall.
Farmer slotted home an empty-net goal with five seconds to go to finish the scoring.
Larocque certainly did his past to keep it close in the final frame, including a stop on Kyle Zych that could end up being one of the best of the tournament.
Canada is right back to action Sunday against Norway (7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT) in the second of three preliminary-round games.