Newfoundland and Labrador will be looking for a spot in the medal playoffs as they take on New Brunswick today in the male hockey competition at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer Alta.
The Newfoundland entry clinched a spot in the qualification game with two victories Monday, including a dramatic 4-3 overtime win against Prince Edward Island.
Dawson Crane scored the game-winner with just nine seconds remaining in the extra frame and N.L. playing shorthanded as the result of a minor penalty for too many men on the ice.
It was the second goal of the game for Crane. Brett Hudson and Ryan Greene also scored for Newfoundland. Greene’s power-play tally midway through the third period knotted the score at 3-3.
Evan Martin made 27 saves in the net for Newfoundland, which went 4-0 in preliminary play in Pool C.
Both N.L. and P.E.I. entered Monday night’s contest knowing they were guaranteed to remain in the hunt for a medal at the Games for at least one more day. No matter the result of their matchup, they would finish 1-2 — in some order — on top of Pool C (which also included Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon).
The Games format has the top two Pool C teams advancing to today’s qualification round which will determine the final two of the eight teams that will play in the playoff quarter-finals.
The Winter Games hockey competition is using a tiered system, with the eight highest-ranked teams divided into Pools A and B, and the remaining five, including Newfoundland, placed in Pool C. The top three finishers in Pools A and B are going straight to the quarter-finals, with the A and B fourth-place teams (New Brunswick is one of them) facing N.L. and P.E.I. in this evening’s qualification round.
The qualification losers will be dropped into the relegation (seeding) round.
Newfoundland clinched its berth in today’s qualification game with a 7-0 win over the Yukon Monday morning.
Nathan Carter had two goals and an assist for N.L., while Greene had a goal and a helper.
William Dyke had to turn aside just 11 shots for the shutout.
James Clarke, Vijay Sahjpal, Kobe Burt and Patrick Hurley had the other markers for the winners, who got three assists from team captain Zach Dean.
Besides hockey, Newfoundland has athletes competing in artistic (synchro) swimming, biathlon, boxing, gymnastics, table tennis and wheelchair basketball this week in Red Deer. There will be action in all those sports today.
One of the more notable results to date for N.L. came from the province’s women’s gymnastics team Sunday.
Jillian Hutchings, Lauren Mills, Sarah Pace, Nadia Simpson, Megan Skinner and Jane Young didn’t medal in the all-round team event, which saw competition on the beam, uneven bar, vault and floor. Still, their seventh-place showing put them in front of four other teams, including all three from the Maritimes, which provide most common measuring stick for Newfoundland athletes.
Their final score of 140.71 was less than five points behind bronze-medal winner Alberta.