Canada’s national Para-hockey team booked its ticket to the 2022 Para Hockey Cup gold medal game in Bridgewater, NS on Thursday, with a 7-0 semi-final win over the Czech Republic.
The Canadians will face the United States on Saturday in the second leg of the final at the Beijing Paralympic Games, where the Americans won their fourth consecutive Paralympic gold medal last March.
Captain Tyler McGregor scored a hat trick as he tied the record for most goals in a single Para Hockey Cup with nine goals. Ont., three-time Paralympic medalist from Forest, now shares the same grade with his Canadian great friend Greg Westlake and Norway’s Rolf Einar Pedersen.
Canada took control early against the Czechs, while McGregor led the score in just over a minute into the first period. Rob Armstrong added the insurance sign before McGregor scored his second goal of the game in front of the cheering crowd at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Center.
The Canadians picked up where they left off in the second round as Liam Hickey shot to the top rack of the puck mid-period over veteran Czech goalkeeper Michal Vapenka. McGregor and his forward friend Dominic Cozzolino added assists to score.
James Dunn scored his fifth goal of the tournament less than two minutes later, giving Canada a 5-0 lead.
Vapenka did everything he could to give his team a chance by robbing McGregor in the final minute of the second period. However, McGregor scored a hat-trick with three minutes into the third period to remove one goal from the single tournament record.
Canada’s strong defensive play continued to stall the Czechs as Hickey added the game’s second goal four minutes later to close the score.
Canada is seeking its first gold medal in the Para Hockey Cup since 2013. The USA won six consecutive gold medals at the tournament, with the last five coming from Canada victories.
The four-team tournament was last held in Paradise, NL in 2019, but was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Canada’s 20-man roster boasts a mix of Paralympic veterans and young talent, with 10 players from the Paralympic team that won silver in Beijing. The Canadians finished the preliminary round with a record of 2-1, and the only defeat came to the Americans.
- #4 James Dunn — Wallacetown, Ont.
- #8 Tyler McGregor — Forest, Ont.
- 9. Corbyn Smith — Monkton, Ont.
- Page #13 Alma, Que.
- #19 Dominik Cozzolino — Mississauga, Ont.
- #20 Jacob Leblanc — Moncton, N.B.
- #21 Alexis Auclair — Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.
- #22 Matteo Pellizzari — Vancouver
- #23 Liam Hickey — St. John’s
- #26 Anton Jacobs-Webb — Gatineau, Que.
- #98 Mathieu Lelievre — Levis, Que.
- #2 Rod Crane — Clarksburg, Ont.
- #5 Tyrone Henry — ottawa
- #7 Zach Lavin — Essex, Ont.
- #11 Adam Dixon — Midland, Ont.
- #29 Mika Kovacevic — Edmonton
- Page #61 Erin, Ont.
- Page #92 Calgary
- #30 Jean-François Huneault — Saint-Eustache, Que.
- Page #31 Dominik Larocque — Quebec City