Canada bests Norway at sledge hockey worlds
Kevin Rempel did not think an early 1-0 deficit to Norway was anything to worry about for the Canadian sledge hockey team.
The native of Vineland, Ont., scored once in the second period and added an insurance goal in the third as Canada rallied to a 4-1 victory Monday at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
"It took us a little while to get the first one but after that we kind of got in our groove," Rempel said. "We spent, of the first period, probably 14 of the 15 minutes in their end. They got one lucky one in there.
"We've just got to keep doing what we're doing and eventually it's going to happen."
Canadian coach Mike Mondin commended Rempel for his hard work.
"He's come such a long way in three years now," Mondin said. "I'm just really proud of him. He works so hard at his game and his fitness and he wants to be a hockey player and he's turning into one. He's responsible defensively as well and just buys into everything that we're trying to do with the team. He's just a pleasure to coach."
Added Canadian captain Greg Westlake: "Rempel got the first goal and he's fairly new on the team. He leads by example and so do a lot of guys."
Westlake, from Oakville, Ont., and Billy Bridges of Summerside, P.E.I., had a goal and an assist each for Canada, which improved to 2-0 at the four-team tournament.
Goalie Corbin Watson of Kingsville, Ont., stopped eight of nine shots he faced to record the victory.
Audun Bakke scored the lone goal of the game for Norway (0-2), which also lost 3-1 to the United States one day earlier.
"It's tough to play against Canada," said Norwegian coach Morten Haglund. "You have to be very good at the defence play to stay in the game as long as possible and maybe to get them a little bit frustrated and take the opportunities we get like we did in the first period.
"In the second period, they got a little too easy goals and then it's tough for us to come back."
Kjell Christian Hamar made 22 saves in the Norway net and drew praise from his coach for his efforts.
"We were actually a bit surprised," Haglund said. "He's a new player. He hadn't played against Canada before and it's tough to stay there. He had a very good first period. I'm really happy for him."
Despite outshooting Norway 9-3 in the first period, Canada trailed 1-0 as a result of a power-play goal by Bakke at 6:06 of the opening frame.
"They were playing really tight in the middle and getting in the way of a lot of our shots," Rempel said. "We weren't able to put as many away."
Hamar kept the game close in the first period by turning aside quality shots by Rempel, Tyler McGregor and Dominic Larocque.
"Their goaltender, we were very impressed," Mondin said. "We haven't seen him before but he played a very good game."
The Canadian squad continued to pour on the pressure in the second period and were finally rewarded at 5:17 when a pass by Westlake from the corner bounced off of Rempel and into the net behind Hamar.
Bridges then one-timed a pass from Dorion past Hamar before Westlake tapped a cross-crease feed from Brad Bowden into a wide-open net.
Rempel rounded out the scoring at 6:31 of the third period when he converted a feed from Bridges.