VANCOUVER, B.C. – Adam Dixon scored the shootout winner as Canada defeated the United States 2-1 to win the gold medal at the Hockey Canada Cup sledge hockey tournament Sunday.
Dixon, of Midland, Ont., scored on U.S. goaltender Steve Cash with Canada’s fifth shot in a final that was watched by 1,812 people live at UBC Thunderbird Arena and was sledge hockey’s first nationally televised event.
Paul Rosen of Thornhill, Ont., stopped all five U.S. shooters to earn the win in net.
Canada got off to a quick start when Graeme Murray of Gravenhurst, Ont., scored at the 7:46 mark of the first period. Murray’s quick snap shot found the top corner of the net and brought the pro-Canada crowd to its feet.
The second period was scoreless, but not for a lack of chances. Rosen was forced to make a number of saves to keep his team ahead going into the third.
The U.S. finally solved Rosen when Jimmy Connelly’s shot found the back of the net.
Canada had the bulk of the scoring chances in the 4-on-4 overtime period, but Cash was up to the task and made a number of great stops for the U.S.
Canada went with Brad Bowden of Orton, Ont., Billy Bridges of Summerside, P.E.I., and Dixon for its first three shooters. After Bridges missed with Canada’s fourth shot, Dixon went in on Cash and scored a beauty.
The event was also used to test the facilities in preparation for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Ice was put into the player’s and penalty boxes to create a smoother transition from bench box to ice for the athletes. Plexiglas inserts in the rink boards were also installed to allow photography and video at ice level.
“Our team has never competed at an event with ice in the benches,” Bridges said. “The ice has allowed for smooth transition for the players from bench to ice surface and then back again. We definitely notice a difference of how quickly we can get on the ice for a change. (The Vancouver Organizing Committee) has done a great job with this facility.”