The Canadian Press and The Telegram
Liam Hickey of St. John’s had a goal and an assist as Canada defeated shorthanded Italy 8-0 on Sunday to open the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Brad Bowden had a hat trick for the Canadians, while Billy Bridges, Greg Westlake, Adam Dixon and Bryan Sholomicki supplied the rest of the offence for the Canadians.
The 19-year-old Hickey is the third-youngest player on Canada's roster. Nevertheless, the Challenge — which is a tune-up for the 2018 Paralympic Games in South Korea — is his fifth international tourney with the Canadian senior men’s team.
On Sunday, the Italians managed just two shots on both Corbin Watson and Dominic Larocque, who split the shutout.
Santino Stillitano made 26 saves for Italy, which was playing with just eight skaters and two goaltenders due to missed flights and equipment.
“The Italian goaltender played outstanding and he kept the score close for over half the game, but our guys didn't show any frustration, they just stuck to the plan,” Canada coach Ken Babey said.
“Overall, I really liked how the boys were unselfish, stuck within the structure of the game and didn't try to do things on their own. The guys have a really strong focus of having a chance at a gold medal here, so the next game is a stepping stone in that process.”
The three-time defending champion United States opened its tournament with an 8-0 victory over South Korea.
The Canadians continue their tournament schedule tonight against the Koreans while Italy faces the U.S.