Canada routs South Korea in Para ice hockey semis, setting up gold-medal rematch with U.S.
McGregor scores 4 goals in 11-0 win; final vs. U.S. set for Saturday at 10:50 p.m. ET
Captain Tyler McGregor scored four goals and veteran Billy Bridges added a hat-trick to help Canada trounce South Korea 11-0 in the men's Para ice hockey semifinals on Friday in Beijing.
Greg Westlake, Liam Hickey, Garrett Riley and Anton Jacobs-Webb each added one goal for Canada, which limited South Korea to only three shots on target while putting up 43 of its own in a convincing performance.
"I am proud of the way our group played today," said McGregor, who turned 28 on Friday. "We had contributions from everyone; even guys that will not show up on the scoresheet still made an impact by blocking shots and killing penalties.
"Everyone is feeling really good about themselves and about the team, and that is very important heading into a gold medal game."
The victory allowed the Canadians a second consecutive chance to claim gold they had last captured at Turin 2006.
"That was the most important game of the year. That was a game that I was looking forward to for the last four years," said Bridges, who is competing in his sixth Paralympics.
"I know it sounds silly when we are in a team that expects to be in that gold-medal game but I've been through two Paralympic experiences where we've lost in the semifinals and I know how devastating that can be for Canada. I know how important it is for our guys to play for the gold medal — as I say it, it gives me goosebumps."
WATCH | McGregor pots 4 goals to lead Canada to semifinal win:
Canada will get another shot at the U.S. in the gold-medal game set for Saturday at 10:50 p.m ET. The U.S. defeated China 11-0 in the tournament's second semifinal on Friday.
As the host country at Vancouver 2010, Canada lost to Japan in the semifinals and then to Norway in the bronze-medal game.
Four years later, in Sochi, they returned to the podium by earning bronze in a rematch against the Norwegian squad, following a defeat to the U.S. in the semifinals.
Then came heartbreak.
Canada was under a minute away from gold at PyeongChang 2018 — but the U.S. had other plans. The Americans tied the game at 1-1 with 38 seconds remaining in the third period, and later scored in overtime to win their third straight Paralympic title.
"We knew coming in here that [the U.S.] was the team to beat," Bridges said. "We've beaten them [this season]. We know we can do it. But, really, we are going to win no matter what opponent [we face] Sunday because of our confidence in ourselves and each other."
But a win over the Americans in an exhibition game back in October, gives the Canadians enough intel on how they could win, should they face the U.S. in the final.
"We just look at the small things that allowed us to win those games, and that's what we want to bring," said Hickey, of St. John's, N.L. "Obviously, [when we] look back to 2018, that was a loss. We really know what we need to improve on and make sure that we do the right stuff."
Just one win away from glory, the Canadians are set on making sure they are the ones with the gold medal around their necks after the buzzer goes off for the last time in Beijing.
"We are looking forward to another chance to meet those guys. We know the things we need to move on and [we] look forward to that opportunity," Hickey said.
"If they play a physical fast game, we want to do the same."