Sports

Canada defeats U.S. to win gold at para hockey world championship

GANGENUNG, Korea, Republic Of — Canada defeated the United States 4-1 Thursday to capture a gold medal at the world para hockey championship.

Tyler McGregor of Forest, Ont., scored twice while Brad Bowden of Orton, Ont., Liam Hickey of St. John's, N.L., also scored.

The win came after the Canadians lost to their archrivals in the round robin.

"This is an outstanding group of young men, and I'm very proud of our team," said head coach Ken Babey. "We played smart, fast and unselfish — the Canadian way. We took hits to make plays and stuck to the game plan."

Formerly known as sledge hockey, the sport has recently been renamed para ice hockey.

Dominic Larocque of Quebec City made 12 saves for the win.

"This is an incredible experience," said Larocque. "To be able to go for gold in the final against the United States has been my dream for the last three years. And to have a chance to bring back gold as a world champion for the second time makes me so proud."

While Canada has won four gold medals at the biennial tournament, this is their first since 2013. The team also settled for bronze at the 2014 Paralympics.

"When I think about this team and what it represents, it's hard work," said captain Greg Westlake, who has been a part of all four gold-winning teams. "We all got challenged after a third-place finish in Sochi, and then disappointing game after disappointing game — tonight was the final reward."

He said he'll always remember how the team came together this year.

"When I think about this team 10, 20 years down the road, I'll remember just how hard we worked in the build-up to tonight, and how we went out and executed," he said. "It's really special and every single guy on the team should be really proud of everything they've done."

Bowden assisted on both McGregor goals while Billy Bridges of Summerside, P.E.I., recorded three assists.

Adam Dixon of Midland, Ont., was named the tournament's best defenceman with 18 points in seven games.

Earlier Thursday, South Korea defeated Norway 3-2 in the bronze-medal game while Italy beat Sweden to finish fifth at the tournament and qualify for the 2018 Paralympics.

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