Canadians lose to U.S. – seek redemption in bronze medal match with Norway
SOCHI, Russia — Graeme Murray and the Canadian sledge hockey team won’t be going for gold again at the Paralympics.
But almost as importantly for the Gravenhurst defenceman and his team they’ll be seeking rdemption when playing for bronze Saturday morning against their nemesis, Norway, at 5 a.m. ET.
It’s the third consecutive Paralympics the Canadians and Norwegians will meet for a medal, with the teams splitting the previous two; Canada won gold in 2006, while Norway earned bronze in 2010.
Earlier in this tournament Canada shut out Norway 4-0.
The U.S. and Russia will play for gold on Saturday (noon ET/9 a.m. PT).
Thursday it was all U.S.A., as the young American team skated circles around the veteran Canadians in an easy 3-0 victory.
Despite outshooting the U.S. 6-3 in the first period, the Americans struck twice in the opening 15 minutes, both off the stick of 16-year-old Declan Farmer. Josh Pauls got the other U.S. marker.
While Murray and his mates outshot the U.S. 11-10, it was the Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson who kept them in this game. He made a number of key saves, while Canadian shooters didn’t have as many quality shots on the whole.
The few they did the American keeper, also, came up big on in the shutout, as his teammates turned around play and would put Canada on the defence.
The Americans scored all their goals in the first 30 minutes of the 45-minute game and coasted home in the third period, while still being able to buzz all around the strong Canadian team that won all three of its preliminary round games with a 15-1 scoring advantage.
But when it came down to one win to advance to the gold medal game, the Canadian Midas scoring touch proved untimely cold. They seemed to lose their momentum around the net at both ends of the rink.
The Canadians outscored had previously outscored the Swedes (10-1), Norwegians (4-0) and Czechs (1-0).
But now Murray and his mates need to reflect back on 2010 at home and the loss to Norway.
And hope they don’t get shut out of the medals a second straight Paralympics, after being an annual powerhouse in sledge hockey at world championships and tournaments the past four years.
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