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Canada’s Para ice hockey team clinches semifinal berth in rout over South Korea

Canada’s James Dunn scored a hat-trick and added an assist to propel the national men’s Para ice hockey team to its first victory at the Beijing Paralympics with a 6-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

By bouncing back from a 5-0 loss to the U.S. in the opener on Saturday, the Canadians finished second place in Group A, securing a spot in the semifinals.

Canada will face the winner of a quarter-final matchup between South Korea and Italy on Thursday at 10:50 p.m. ET.

Liam Hickey, of St. John’s, N.L., scored Canada’s first goal just over seven minutes into the first period.

Dunn, who assisted on the first goal, doubled Canada’s lead just 21 seconds later. The 21-year-old two-time Paralympian added his second of the game in the second period to make it 3-0.

Veteran Billy Bridges of Summerside, P.E.I., and Canadian captain and co-flag-bearer Tyler McGregor of Forest, Ont., scored in the third period before Dunn completed his hat-trick to wrap up the 6-0 rout.

“It’s good to get the win. We didn’t have a great first game here, of course. It’s important to bounce back: a rubber Band-Aid, so to speak,” said five-time Paralympian Greg Westlake.

As for Bridges, he is confident the team has it in them to bounce back from a loss such as the one to the U.S.

“We come into this tournament as we did in the last seven or eight seasons. We know [the U.S.] are a team to beat, but we are very proud in our own play and in our own players,” Bridges said.

“Our ability to respond has to be there and I really feel this group has it in them. We showed a bit of what we were working on in the last couple of days and I know tomorrow we are going to get right back to work again.”

Canada, which limited South Korea to only four shots on goal while putting up 42 shots of its own, will get back on the ice on Friday for the semifinal, with their adversary yet to be determined.

The U.S., who defeated South Korea 9-1 on Tuesday, finished the preliminary round in the top spot of the group and also qualified for the semifinals.

With two losses in two games, South Korea concluded third to move on to the quarter-finals.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) would have also been part of Group A had the country not been excluded from the Games along with Belarus.

Group B consisted of host nation China, Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia who all played Tuesday to determine the three remaining quarter-final spots and knockout round games.

The Paralympic hosts secured top spot in the group with a 6-0 victory over Italy. Czech Republic finished behind China in second place following a 3-0 victory over Slovakia and will play the Group B winners in the competitions’ other quarter-final.

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