The goal was gold, but Team Canada failed: Japan beat the Canadian sledge hockey team 3-1 in the semi-finals. Now Canada is playing in the Bronze medal game. This is a big surprise, since Canada finished off the preliminary rounds of play extremely well, with a 5-0 win over team Norway. Setting the tone early, with a goal a mere thirty-one seconds into the game, the Canadian team showed that they could very well be the best. They ended the preliminary round of the eight-team-tournament, winning every single game, and only letting in a single goal.
Norway went on the power play five times, but they were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. Going the other way, Canada had a total of 8 power plays against Norway, and scored on three of them. Greg Westlake of Team Canada managed to get a pair of goals in the game, bringing his tournament total up to a whopping 7 goals, 3 more than any other player at that point. Canada itself is doing very well, scoring wise. Four of the top five scorers, as of March 16th, were playing for team Canada. The game against Norway was enthusiastic to say the least. The crowd was really getting into it, and one loyal fan was seen to be waving a large flag on a pole approximately five meters in height. This same spectator was also handing out flags to cheering supporters, enough to fill almost an entire section.
Despite only a partial crowd, it was difficult to tell that there were any empty seats at the UBC Thunderbird Arena, just by listening. The crowd was roaring when the players skated onto the ice, as the game started. 9:56 minutes later, they were at it again, as Canada opened up scoring while on the power play. Both teams went on the power play twice in the first period. Canada scored the first goal of the game, as the penalty to Naohiko Ishida wound to a close. In fact, there was only 6 seconds left on the power play, and the attendant was preparing to allow the Japanese player to return to the ice. Midway into the second period though, an intercepted pass gave the Japanese team a free shot on net that they took, and managed to bring the score up to 1-1.
The third period was mostly uneventful, until a late breakaway by the Japanese team allowed them to go up 2-1. As the game wound to a close however, Canada was unable to recover the lead. They lost to a hard playing Japanese team 3-1, after an unfortunate empty netter. They move on to the bronze medal game, where they will attempt to gain a placing of third in the Paralympic games. Japan, on the other hand, moves on to the gold medal game.Cameron Farnden, 18 years