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United States blanks Canada 3-0 in world para hockey championship

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The United States shut out Canada 3-0 in the world para hockey championship Wednesday to hand the host country its first loss of the tournament.

The U.S. capped the preliminary round 3-0, while Canada dropped to 2-1. Both countries have byes to Saturday’s semifinals. The host Canadians will face either Italy or Czechia.

“As you go deeper in a tournament, you need to be better the next day,” Canadian coach Russ Herrington said. “Although we’re a young team, we have enough experience in that room to understand that it will go up another level in semifinals.

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“We’ve never experienced that at home and that will bring a certain level of pressure for sure, but I believe that our investment this year, especially on the mental performance side, will allow us to be able to handle that well and bring out a good performance against whoever we play on Saturday night.”

Jack Wallace had a goal and an assist for the U.S. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre. Brody Roybal and Travis Dodson with an empty-net goal also scored for the Americans.

U.S. goalie Jack Lee stopped all nine shots he faced for the shutout, while Canadian counterpart Dominic Larocque turned away 14 of 16 in the loss.

“The Americans know us really well and we know them,” Larocque said. “It’s always a tight game and we have a new team.

“It’s a new year for us, new guys on the team, but it’s part of the process to build on that. Win or lose, we’ll build on the game and hopefully we will see them again. Overall, I feel I played well. The Americans had a couple of good chances for sure and I tried to keep the game tight.

“Unfortunately they beat me twice, but it’s part of the game. I just tried to keep it as tight as possible to give our team a chance to win.”

The Americans extended their win streak against Canada to 12 consecutive games dating back to October 2021.

Roybal scored the first goal of the game at 5:11 of the second period with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that deflected off Larocque’s glove and in.

With Canada serving a too-many-men penalty, Wallace scored a power-play goal with just over four minutes remaining in the game.

“That’s as solid as an effort that we’ve had for a full 45 minutes,” U.S. coach David Hoff said. “The ability to keep everyone involved and keep that tempo up made us really hard to play against.”

The U.S. is the reigning world and Paralympic champion. The Americans beat Canada 5-0 in last year’s Paralympic final in Beijing.

The U.S. also defeated Canada 5-1 in the 2021 world final in Ostrava, Czechia.

In other games Wednesday, China beat Germany 7-0 and Italy defeated Norway 3-1. Thursday is a day off for all teams ahead of Friday’s quarterfinals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2023.