CANADA ROUTS NORWAY TO FINISH PERFECT PRELIMS
JASON LA ROSE
TURIN, Italy – The line of Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.), Bryan Sholomicki (Winnipeg, Man.) and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) combined for 13 points, leading Canada’s National Sledge Team to a convincing 9-1 win over Norway to finish the preliminary round Wednesday at the 2017 International Para Hockey Tournament.
Westlake led the offence with a goal and four assists, McGregor had two of each and Sholomicki added four helpers, giving Canada first place in the round-robin with an unblemished 3-0 record.
The Canadians will next take on host Italy in the semifinals on Friday (4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT).
The goals came early and often against the Norwegians, the first three coming before the nine-minute mark of the first period.
Ben Delaney (Ottawa, Ont.) got the scoring started just 100 seconds in, picking up the puck in the corner and driving to the net before tucking a shot around Norwegian netminder Kissinger Deng.
McGregor doubled the advantage at 7:30, stretching to push a shot under Deng, and Delaney added his second just 1:12 after that, taking a pass off a clean face-off win by Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) and wiring a shot past Deng.
Three goals in less than four minutes put the Canadians firmly in control early in the second period.
McGregor got the first – his second of the game – at 1:48, getting a shot through traffic from the top of the circle, and Corbyn Smith (Monkton, Ont.) roofed a shot from a sharp angle for his first international goal and a 5-0 lead at 3:06.
Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) added his fourth goal in two games to make it 6-0 before Emil Sørheim got the Norwegians on the board in the final minute of the middle frame – the first goal allowed by the Canadians in the tournament.
Three goals in three minutes capped the scoring midway through the third period, with Westlake, Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.) and James Gemmell (Quesnel, B.C.) doing the honours.
Gemmell’s goal was just his second in 72 career games with Team Canada, and both have come in Turin; he scored in a 5-1 preliminary-round win over Italy on Dec. 15, 2015.
In all, eight players recorded multiple points in the win; in addition to the exploits of the big line, Delaney added an assist to his two goals, Smith, Dixon and Gemmell finished with a goal and a helper each, and Hickey notched two assists.
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) earned the win in goal, making six saves.