HAMAR, NOR. – Billy Bridges struck twice as Canada rallied for a 3-1 win over Italy on Sunday in the preliminary round of the world sledge hockey tournament, first tying the game 1-1 and then adding the insurance goal.
Bridges tied the game at the 10:12 mark of the first period, then Brad Bowden scored 29 seconds later on a power play, while Benoit St-Amand made 14 saves to earn the win.
Before leaving, the Canadian team prepared for the worlds with a three-day workout at CFB Borden, Ont. last week.
“CFB Borden was an inspiring environment for our team,” said Team Canada coach and Trail resident Mike Mondin in an email. “Seeing the preparation of the military assisted our team and strengthened our team spirit.”
The Italians, winners of the European championship last year, were a tough first test for the Canadians.
“Every team at the world championship will be at their best. Our team has to be ready and determined for every game. We cannot afford to be overconfident with any team.”
Norway, USA and Japan are playing well and are balanced teams while the Italians are a confident group with a dangerous attack.
Valerio Corvino scored for Italy (0-1) at the 11:23 mark of the first period for a 1-0 lead, before the Canadians came back.
The round-robin Group A Pool includes: USA, Japan, Czech Republic and Estonia. Group B consists of: Norway, Canada, Italy and Korea.
“The expectation of any Team Canada is to win Gold. Our players have prepared all year with the goal of winning the World Championship. They are very proud of their results during the year and are looking forward to the tournament,” added Mondin.
At the last World Championships in Ostrava, Czech Rep. in 2009, USA defeated Norway for the title, and Canada picked up the bronze.
Canada plays Korea today.
With files from Cdn. Press.