Canada earns silver suffering shutout loss to U.S. in Para ice hockey final in Beijing
Canadians' hopes to claim 1st gold medal since Turin 2006 fall short in 5-0 loss
Canada's Para ice hockey team will have to settle for silver in Beijing.
After a four-year wait to challenge the U.S. for gold again following a 2-1 defeat in overtime at PyeongChang 2018, the Americans defeated the Canadians 5-0 in the gold-medal game on Sunday for their fourth straight Paralympic title.
Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal both scored twice and added an assist for the Americans. Josh Pauls also found the net to dash Canada's hopes of claiming its first gold medal since Turin 2006.
"It is pretty heavy on the heart right now, and I think it is going to take some time to move past that," said Canadian captain Tyler McGregor. "You have to take pride in getting here and the process of the last four years."
WATCH l Canada settles for silver as U.S. wins Para ice hockey gold medal:
The silver medal serves as the last of Canada's 25 overall medals (eight gold, six silver and 11 bronze) at the Beijing Paralympics.
McGregor wishes they could have turned the final piece of hardware into gold.
Five-time Paralympian Greg Westlake, who passed the captain's role onto the younger McGregor for the 2022 Paralympics, called the result "disappointing."
"We came out flying and had some great chances early. In our sport, with 15-minute periods, if you can take the lead early it changes the whole dynamic completely," said the 36-year-old, who announced his retirement following these Games earlier on Saturday.
"You look back on it, and we could have got it done, but we didn't. So we take our silver medal and hold our heads high."
Dominic Larocque, of Quebec City, made 15 saves for Canada, including a penalty shot by Pauls in the second period.
St. John's, N.L., native Liam Hickey had a breakaway opportunity to put Canada on the board first with 6:51 remaining in the opening period, but American goaltender Jen Lee made one of his 16 saves to keep the game levelled.
Big chance for Canada 🇨🇦!<br><br>Liam Hickey breaks through but can't find the shot and Jen Lee 🇺🇸 denies him to keep it scoreless<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beijing2022?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Beijing2022</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WinterParalympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WinterParalympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParaIceHockey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ParaIceHockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/x3W7GQrdqB">pic.twitter.com/x3W7GQrdqB</a>—@Paralympics
Shortly after, Farmer and Roybal scored shorthanded goals 25 seconds apart from each other to put the U.S. up 2-0.
Canada was unable to capitalize on a two-man advantage near the end of the second period and veteran Billy Bridges, of Summerside, P.E.I., hit the post in the third on a night where the Canadians had a hard time getting going.
Off the post!<br><br>Billy Bridges shoots and is inches away from getting Canada 🇨🇦 on the board!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beijing2022?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Beijing2022</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WinterParalympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WinterParalympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParaIceHockey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ParaIceHockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/fjbe0Lava1">pic.twitter.com/fjbe0Lava1</a>—@Paralympics
Canada also lost 5-0 to the U.S. to open the preliminary round before going on to rout South Korea 6-0.
The Canadians followed that up with an 11-0 victory against South Korea in the semifinals en route to the gold-medal game.
The U.S., on the other hand, had gone undefeated, besting South Korea 9-1 and then getting past China 11-0 in the semifinals prior to the final.
China shut out South Korea 4-0 for bronze on Saturday to complete the podium.
'You must keep battling'
Despite the 16-year gold medal drought and another tough loss in a final, McGregor looks ahead to what he sees as a bright future for the team.
"We have so much talent and youth. We have so much young leadership within our team, and that's exciting," the 28-year-old from Forest, Ont., said. "You must keep battling. This is not the first time we have to start over after being on the wrong side of the gold medal game.
"You never give up. You have to keep finding ways to put yourself [in position] to win a gold medal. We have to believe that we have the team to do that."