Canada finishes with silver at Para Hockey Cup, falling to rival U.S. in final

Canadian defenceman Zach Lavin plays the puck during a 5-1 loss to the United States on Saturday in the gold-medal game at the 2022 Para Hockey Cup in Bridgewater, N.S. (@HockeyCanada/Twitter - image credit)
Canadian defenceman Zach Lavin plays the puck during a 5-1 loss to the United States on Saturday in the gold-medal game at the 2022 Para Hockey Cup in Bridgewater, N.S. (@HockeyCanada/Twitter - image credit)

Canada's national Para-hockey team finished with silver at the 2022 Para Hockey Cup, falling 5-1 to the United States in the final on Saturday in Bridgewater, N.S.

The Canadians kept the game close through two periods, but the U.S. took control with a four-goal third period to claim its seventh straight gold medal at the tournament.

Brandon Roybal led the Americans with a hat trick, while Declan Farmer and Evan Nichols each added a goal.

Canadian defenceman Adam Dixon scored in the final minute of the game after goaltender Jean-François Huneault was pulled for the extra attacker.

Huneault, making his third straight start, stopped 21 shots while delivering another solid performance at his second international event. The U.S. outshot Canada 26-10.

"For two periods and the first eight minutes of the third period, we were right there. A bad three-minute span against the best team in the world and you lose your focus, and they blow it open," said head coach Russ Herrington.

"They have world class players over there and we gave them easy offence in that span."

WATCH | Roybal's hat trick leads U.S. past Canada in Para Hockey Cup final:

Roybal opened the scoring for the Americans on the power play late in the first period, but Huneault kept it a one-goal game in the second with several big stops.

Things fell apart for the Canadians in the third period, with Roybal scoring his second of the game just under two minutes into the frame.

Multiple players were ejected with game misconducts after fighting broke out a couple minutes later. Canada lost defencemen Tyrone Henry and Zach Lavin, while American defenceman Jack Wallace and forward Joseph Woodke were also sent off.

Star forward Farmer scored an unassisted goal midway through the period before setting up the goal from Nichols less than a minute later, giving the Americans a commanding 4-0 lead.

Roybal completed the hat trick to close out the scoring for the U.S. with just over two minutes remaining, but the Canadians put together a strong shift in the final minute with the extra attacker.

Canadian captain Tyler McGregor, who tied the single-tournament record with nine goals in Bridgewater, collected an assist along with Dominic Cozzolino as Dixon found the back of the net with thirty seconds left.

McGregor finished the tournament second in points with 13, while Cozzolino led all players nine assists.

"I think we took a lot of good steps forward all week," Dixon said. "We're a better team now than we were when we got here. We had three bad minutes today, but I think we can be proud of our effort, proud of the steps we've taken and be confident that moving forward, we will be better."

Canada was searching for its first gold medal at the Para Hockey Cup since 2013, and have now lost to the U.S. in the gold-medal game at the last six editions of the tournament.

The four-team tournament was last held in 2019 in Paradise, N.L., but was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Americans, who finished undefeated with a 5-0 record, also beat Canada for gold at the International Para Hockey Cup in September and Beijing Paralympics last March.

Bolstered by the home crowd, the Canadians opened the tournament with dominant wins over Italy and the Czech Republic, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 13-0. But they came up short in the final preliminary-round game on Wednesday, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Americans.

Canada booked its ticket to the final with a shutout win over the Czechs on Thursday that saw McGregor score a hat trick.

The Czechs cruised past Italy in the bronze-medal game earlier on Saturday with a 9-0 victory, with Filip Vesely leading the way with two goals.