OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Brody Roybal scored the winning goal at the 5:08 mark of overtime to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory over Canada in the final at the 2019 World Para Ice Hockey Championships.
With the win, the Americans reclaim the world crown they lost to Canada in 2017 and add to their Paralympic Games title won last year.
“It came down to a one-goal game and a play in a game and it went the wrong way against us, but our guys battled hard through the game tonight,” said Canada's head coach Ken Babey (Saskatoon, Sask.). “This is only our first step in the journey to Beijing in 2022, and we’ve come a long way this season, even from where we were a few months ago. All week we got better and prospects for the future are really looking good.”
In overtime, Declan Farmer found Roybal in the open and he slid the puck under his sled from one stick to the other to deke Canadian goaltender Dominique Larocque who made some brilliant saves earlier in OT.
Larocque was named Canada’s player of the game as he stopped 19 of 22 shots. Canada had 10 shots.
“I thought our team had a great week,” said captain Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.), who led Canada in scoring with 13 points (six goals, seven assists). “The result obviously didn’t go the way we wanted, but we came into this world championship with a lot of new players and I thought we did a tremendous job, everyone contributed, the energy was great and we gained a lot of experience as a team.”
The first period was marred by two long delays. The first was to clean up a mess left by the fire sparklers in the pre-game introduction. Then Farmer appeared to give the Americans a 1-0 lead at the five-minute mark when the puck squeaked through Larocque. After a 10-minute review it was called no goal.
Larocque was sensational in the first, making six saves, most in spectacular fashion.
Canada played its best period in regulation in the second. Liam Hickey completed a tic-tac-toe play to put the Canadians ahead 1-0. Josh Pauls tied it for the U.S. on a fine individual effort before Rob Armstrong grabbed a loose puck and shot high over U.S. goalie Steve Cash to give Canada the lead again.
‘’Any way I can contribute on the ice whether it is a good hit on the forecheck or a goal I’m happy to be helping the team there,’’ said Armstrong in an interview between the second and third period. ‘’We play each other a lot in the season and it’s always a physical fast game.’’
The third period was more hard hitting as the Americans put pressure on the Canadian defence. Finally American Farmer showed some nifty stickhandling to beat Larocque and send the game into OT.
Larocque was also named the top goaltender of the tournament while Hickey was the top defenceman.
“It feels good,” Hickey said of being honoured. “I thought we had an awesome tournament as a team. I think this week was a big step forward in the process, focusing on Beijing in 2022, so I’m excited. Now we’re going to put a lot of work in this summer, and make sure we’re prepared for next season, starting with selection camp in September.”
South Korea won the bronze medal earlier Saturday with a 4-1 victory over host country Czech Republic.