The World Sledge Hockey Challenge got under way in Charlottetown, Canada on Sunday evening with the two North American teams (USA and Canada) winning their opening games. The United States defeated South Korea while Canada managed a win over Norway.
It took just two minutes for Canada to open the scoring as Rob Armstrong was able to leave a drop pass for Greg Westlake in the left side offensive face-off circle. That allowed Westlake to hit a powerful low shot across goal and in to the bottom left corner.
The Canadian squad has changed their play in the 2016-17 season looking to use a fast break style playing with speed. That saw Canada break through the Norwegian line, with Liam Hickey able to break through the defensemen multiple time.
That forced Norway’s goaltender to do a lot of work in net to try and keep the Canadians from adding to their score. Kjell Christian Hamar was the man in net for Norway and he managed 18 saves through the game in an impressive performance despite the score line.
Canada was also doing well defensively, not allowing Norway a shot on net until 9:40 as the Canadian defense held them out. Canada finally added a second three seconds before the end of the first period as Ben Delaney was able to pounce on a loose puck, shooting it past the goalie in to the back of the net.
That domination by the Canadians continued in the second period managing a dominant shot lead through the second 15 minutes. With a little over two minutes to play in the period, Brian Sholomicki was able to finish Billy Bridge’s crossed pass to make it three.
Canada could, and probably should, have had an even bigger lead as they hit the steel three times in the second period. Through the third the Canadian forecheck was strong which saw Norway struggle, with only 11 players dressed for play they couldn’t keep the energy up and compete with Canada who cruised to the 3-0 win.
The USA managed a big 4-0 win over South Korea to get their campaign started and take the lead in the round robin stage. Declan Farmer was the main man for the Americans as he scored twice and provided one assist in the big win.
It took just over six minutes for the USA to open the scoring coming from their first power play of the game. With 54 seconds remaining Farmer was able to set up Nikko Landeros who was able to easily fire the puck past the goalie.
Being shorthanded didn’t stop the United States as they doubled their lead with 22 seconds to play in the first. Farmer forced a turnover in the South Korean zone and was able to skate free in to goal, allowing him a simple finish for the shorthanded goal.
As the second period was coming to an end the Americans were able to make it three as they converted another power play. With 3:56 remaining in the second Adam Page was able to get a shot away which was saved but Page got back on the rebound and buried it for 3-0.
A power play also gave USA their final goal of the game as Farmer was able to make it four just thirty seconds after a third. Farmer easily finished the chance for a four goal win as they cruised out through the third.