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Canada to meet U.S. for Para hockey gold medal

Two third-period goals, scored 24 seconds apart, lifted Canada to a 2-1 victory over China in semifinal action at the World Para Ice Hockey Championship on Friday at WinSport Arena in Calgary.

Micah Kovacevich and Dominic Cozzolino scored at 1:19 and 1:43 of the final period to erase a 1-0 deficit and punch their ticket to Sunday’s gold medal game against the United States. Tyler McGregor chipped in with two assists.

Jin Tao Tian gave China a 1-0 lead in the first period with a power-play goal at 11:47.

Canada outshot China 17-15 and went 0-for-2 on the power play. China was 1-for-2 on the power play.

“What you saw in the semifinals today was two teams that had nothing to lose and played that way,” said Canadian coach Russ Herrington of Unionville, Ont. “We have been talking all tournament about competing and playing freely, and I do not think we did that in the first two periods.

“In the end, I have to give a lot of credit to our team for being able to relax enough heading into the third period realizing that we put ourselves in a position where one good period could be enough.”

Cozzolino was stoked to score the game winner, but is thrilled to be playing the U.S. for gold.

“(Playing in the gold-medal game) is what I dreamt of as a kid. Every kid in Canada wants to score the winner against the United States. There is no better feeling than heading into the gold-medal game. This is it,” said Cozzolino.

USA 3 CZECHIA 1

The United States advanced to its ninth straight gold-medal game with a 3-1 win over Czechia in Friday’s first semifinal game.

Malik Jones of the U.S. national team, scored the go-ahead goal with 7:01 remaining in the game.

“It was a challenging environment for us today, we struggled to finish a few chances and weren’t able to get any cushion early,” said U.S. coach David Hoff. “But I thought that we were in such a tough environment in the third and we were able to finish and pull through, I think it showed a lot of character from our guys.”

Chris Douglas opened scoring for the U.S. 8:56 into the contest when he capitalized on a one-timer from the slot after the puck was poked off the stick of Declan Farmer.

At the 5:11 mark of the final frame, Martin Zizlavsky scored to tie the game at one apiece.

Jones put the U.S. back in front with 7:01 to play in the contest when he batted home the go-ahead goal from just outside the crease after gathering a loose puck from a scrum out in front.

With time expiring, Douglas iced the game for the U.S. with an empty-net goal.

The U.S. outshot Czechia 22-7, and went 1-for-3 on the power play. Czechia went 0-for-3.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2024.

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