Canada’s national Para hockey team suffered a 6-1 loss to the United States in the gold-medal game at the world Para hockey championship on Sunday in Moose Jaw, Sask.
The Americans seized momentum early and outplayed the Canadians at both ends of the ice to win the first worlds hosted in Canada. It’s an all too familiar feeling for the Canadian team, which has not beaten the reigning Paralympic champions in any competition since 2021.
The matchup marked the sixth straight final between the rivals at the world championship, with the U.S. winning its third straight world title and sixth overall. Canada has not won gold at the tournament since 2017.
The Americans opened the scoring just under three minutes into the game. Forward Josh Misiewicz deflected a shot from defenceman Josh Pauls past Canadian goalie Dominic Larocque from close range. The goal was reviewed for goaltender interference with Misiewicz making contact, but the call was upheld.
Canada had a chance to establish momentum late in the first period after U.S. forward Ben Musselman was called for interference, but American star Declan Farmer scored a short-handed goal for the 2-0 lead.
Farmer, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist, picked the puck up off the boards and raced down the ice before deking out Larocque. The 25-year-old was named tournament MVP and best forward of the tournament.
👨🌾 DECLAN FARMER!!<br><br>Shorthanded goal for <a href=”https://twitter.com/usahockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@USAHockey</a> as Farmer shows off his stick-handling!<br><br>END OF FIRST:<br>🇺🇸 <a href=”https://twitter.com/usahockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@USAHockey</a> 2 : 0 <a href=”https://twitter.com/HockeyCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@HockeyCanada</a> 🇨🇦<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MooseJaw2023?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MooseJaw2023</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/APool?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#APool</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParaIceHockey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ParaIceHockey</a>
The Canadians had plenty of power-play opportunities throughout the game but finished 0-for-6. The Americans went 0-for-3.
The U.S. continued to shine in the second period, with David Eustace extending the lead just 1:23 into the frame. The defenceman scored off a rebound after Larocque made the initial save on Jack Wallace’s shot.
Wallace scored his team’s fourth goal of the game later in the period on a short-handed breakaway, flipping the puck over Larocque’s blocker.
McGregor brought the home crowd to its feet with a goal in the third period, beating goalie Jen Lee from in close for his fourth goal and tenth point of the tournament. But the excitement was short-lived, as Farmer gave the U.S. a 5-1 lead with another highlight-reel goal.
🚨🏒 OH CAPTAIN! 📣<br><br>🇨🇦 <a href=”https://twitter.com/HockeyCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@HockeyCanada</a>’s captain Tyler McGregor gets a goal on the board for the home team, and the crowd are pretty happy about it!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MooseJaw2023?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MooseJaw2023</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/APool?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#APool</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParaIceHockey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ParaIceHockey</a>
Canada pulled Larocque for the extra attacker in the final minutes, but it led to an empty-net goal from forward Kevin McKee to close out the win.
Larocque made 17 saves on 23 shots, while Lee faced nine shots.
“We say be hard to play against and that means possess the puck as much as we can,” U.S. head coach David Hoff said. “A couple of times Canada got loose on us, but we always had two, three sleds coming back to make it hard for them to get to the net.”
The Canadian squad had six players competing at their first worlds, including 20-year-old trailblazer Raphaëlle Tousignant — the first woman to play for Canada’s national Para hockey team at an international event.
“We are just at a different stage in our development,” head coach Russ Herrington said. “It’s a long arduous journey and we feel we’ve accelerated the process a little bit here.”
The U.S. went undefeated en route to the gold medal, including a dominant 10-2 win over China in the semifinal on Saturday.
The Czech Republic edged China 3-2 in the bronze-medal game earlier on Sunday for their first podium finish at worlds.
WATCH | Raphaëlle Tousignant makes history by breaking gender barrier: