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Cozzolino scores pair, Canada blanks Czechs to remain unbeaten at Para Hockey Cup

Dominic Cozzolino scored two goals for a second consecutive game while Adam Kingsmill and Mitchell Garrett combined for the shutout in Canada’s 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic at the Para Hockey Cup in Quispamsis, N.B., on Monday.

Anton Jacobs-Webb also scored for the Canadians, who improved to 2-0 following Sunday’s tournament-opening 4-1 victory over China.

Canada captain Tyler McGregor set up both Cozzolino goals after reaching the scoresheet in each of the team’s goals against China.

“I am fortunate to play with some pretty good linemates [in McGregor and Jonathan Daigle] who make my job easy,” Cozzolino, who hails from Mississauga, Ont., told Hockey Canada.

“We will reset, focus on the next game and get back to what makes us successful.”

Canada faces the United States (2-0) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET.

The Americans routed China 11-1 on Monday, a day after blanking the Czechs 3-0. Brody Roybal and Jack Wallace each collected five points versus China.

The Canadians lost to the U.S. in the International Para Hockey Cup final last month in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The Americans also beat Canada in the gold-medal game of the World Para Ice Hockey Championship in Moose Jaw, Sask., in May and June.

But playing their rivals never gets old, Cozzolino pointed out.

“Ever since I was four or five years old playing hockey in my driveway, it is what I envisioned,” he said. “It still gives me goosebumps to put on the Maple Leaf against them.”

Canada assistant coach Greg Westlake stated he and head coach Russ Herrington plan to encourage the players to enjoy Wednesday’s game, noting the “fun” rivalry with the U.S.

“We are in our home country promoting a sport that not everyone has seen live before, so you focus on the positives,” said Westlake.

“We are spreading awareness of the game and get to compete and play the sport we love the most against [the United States which] loves to compete as well.”

Westlake said the players’ support of each other has been noticed by the coaching staff.

“We are thinking about what we can do to get incrementally better,” he said, “whether it is getting rest, better breakouts, defence.”

The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the subsequent bronze and gold-medal games on Saturday.

Canada is searching for its first gold medal at the Para Hockey Cup since 2013. The U.S. has won seven consecutive titles, with the last six coming against Canada.

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