CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Round 1 goes into the United States.
The Americans play two minutes to go in the second period to break a 2-2 tie and added an insurance marker 44 seconds into the third to defeat Canada 5-2 Wednesday at the last match of the preliminary round at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
“It’s always large going undefeated, but you have to keep your mind focused on the long run,” said Josh Misiewicz, who scored the winner and added two assists. “There is some tough teams. All four groups can perform with. Canada is always right there with us.”
Misiewicz said having the ability to regain the lead was large for the group.
Summerside native Billy Bridges scored both of Canada’s goals Wednesday, but he was considering the loss afterwards.
“I had much rather not score one and give our goalie that a shutout and win the match,” he said.
The Americans began strong and controlled the play early, recording the very first five shots of the match at the opening five minutes. Canada obtained going midway through the framework and Bridges felt with. He tied it 5:13 into the next.
“We had the flashes of the way we perform,” Bridges said.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” he further added. “I understand we lost the match now and we allow five goals against — that’s the very first time that we have let that happen since the last time we had been friggin’ here this past year — and we all must have that sour taste in our mouth around that and we have got to be ready to do anything about it.”
Brody Roybal scored two, including the empty net goal, and added an assist for the Americans, while Declan Farmer and Kevin McKee also believed. Nikko Landeros and McKee had helpers.
Liam Hickey had two assists for Canada, while captain Greg Westlake along with Dominic Cozzolino each added one.
Steve Cash made 20 saves for the win. Corbin Watson allowed four goals on 11 shots in half an hour of play before being replaced by Dominic Larocque, who stopped both shots he faced.
Canada had plenty of chances, but Cash was money at the bank to the United States.
“He is a stud,” Misiewicz said. “He is Iceman. He is just always on top of the match. It’s just great to have him back”
Canada was unlucky occasionally, ringing iron onto a small number of occasions.
Bridges said Cash is great, but they take on great goalies all the time, and it comes down to implementation.
“We must start burying our chances,” he said.
The mutual esteem is clearly; so is the simple fact that the teams don’t enjoy losing to their rival.
While the Americans won Wednesday, many observers expect the teams can observe each other again Saturday with a gold trophy on the line and in about 100 days time when the ultimate aim — Paralympic gold — are the prize.
“These matches are vitally important, but the way that it works in amateur Paralympic game is that you truly do get 1 crack at a Paralympic gold every four years and you have to make sure it counts,” Bridges said. “We completely trust our staff, Babs along with our boys, we are likely to do every single thing possible to empathize if it counts.”
Korea 3 Italy two SO
USA 5 Canada 2
Noon — USA vs. Italy.
7 p.m. — Canada vs. Korea.
1 p.m. — Bronze trophy game.
4 p.m. — Gold medal game.