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Canada’s national Para-hockey team improved to 2-0 at the Para Hockey Cup with a 5-0 triumph over the Czech Republic on Monday in Bridgewater, N.S.
Tyler McGregor of Forest, Ont., led the way with two goals and two assists, bringing the forward’s two-game total to six points — three back of United States’ Declan Farmer, who leads the four-team tournament.
“We were resilient tonight,” stated McGregor, Canada’s captain. “[Czech Republic] put up a great fight, they were physical and had their chances. We did a good job of staying present and creating our offence from good defense. Our ability to regroup when mistakes happened really impressed me in this game. It was a great effort.”
Forward Dominic Cozzolino notched his second straight two-point game with a goal and an assist. The Mississauga, Ont., native had two assists in Canada’s 8-0 victory over Italy in the tournament opener.
The rest of Canada’s scoring came from the defense with markers from Rod Crane of Clarksburg, Ont., and Adam Dixon of Midland, Ont.
Quebec City’s Dominic Larocque and Jean-Francois Huneault of Saint-Eustache, Que., combined to make six saves in the shutout victory, with the duo yet to surrender a goal in the tourney.
“Tonight was an extremely physical game and we knew it would be,” said Canada head coach Russ Herrington. “[The Czech Republic] are a big, heavy team, and I was happy with how we hung in there, took hits to make plays and dished it out when it was necessary.”
Canada will complete the preliminary round against its biggest rival on Wednesday versus the United States at 6 p.m. ET, a rematch of the gold-medal game from the Beijing Paralympics in March. The Americans also claimed gold over Canada in September at the International Para Hockey Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The United States dispatched Italy 9-2 on Monday — led by two goals apiece from Brody Roybal and Nils Larch — to bring its tournament goal differential to 19-2.
“Every time we play them, it’s exciting,” said Canadian forward Liam Hickey. “They are a talented team and are a top team in the world right now and we’re chasing that. If we take care of our game, we can be successful. Everyone in that room is excited.”
Semifinal games will be played on Thursday, with medal games scheduled for Saturday to close out the tournament.