Canada advances to World Sledge Hockey Challenge final with win over South Korea
Canada's Kevin Rempel, centre, celebrates his second period goal against Japan with Billy Bridges, left, and Graeme Murray during semi-final World Sledge Hockey Challenge action in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. (Larry MacDougal / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Dhiren Mahiban, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:40PM EST
TORONTO -- Canada advanced to the final of the World Sledge Hockey Challenge with a 2-1 win over South Korea on Thursday.
The semifinal was a much closer game than anticipated after Canada defeated South Korea 5-2 on Sunday to open the round robin.
Anthony Gale and Kevin Rempel scored 26 seconds apart in the first period to give Canada an early 2-0 lead.
Young-Jae Cho got the Koreans to within one with his goal in the opening minute of the second period.
Then with Billy Bridges off for high-sticking and 2:25 remaining in the third, South Korea pulled their goaltender looking for the equalizer, but came up just short.
Canada will now play the United States in the final on Saturday while South Korea will play the Russia for bronze.
Gale picked up his second goal at 2:28 of the first. Then at 2:54 Rempel gave the hosts a 2-0 lead on a power play with his third of the tournament.
Canada outshot South Korea 12-0 in the first period.
The Koreans got on the board, on their first shot of the game, at the one-minute mark of the second period when Cho beat Canadian starter Benoit St-Amand for his second of the tournament.
Bridges had an excellent chance to restore Canada's two-goal lead, on a partial break, at 11:49 but was denied by Man-Gyun Yu.
Yu made 25 saves in the loss while St-Amand stopped just six shots in the win.
The Americans punched their ticket to Saturday's final with a 4-1 victory over Russia earlier Thursday.
Josh Pauls scored his team-leading second and third goals part of a three-goal second period. Paul Schaus and Declan Farmer had the other goals for the Americans, who enter the final with a 3-1 record.
Nikolay Terentyev scored a third-period power-play goal for the Russians.
Canada defeated the Americans 4-1 on Wednesday to conclude the round robin. Captain Greg Westlake had a hat trick in the victory.
Canada entered this year's event a perfect 18-0 in preliminary round play and went 3-0 entering Thursday. This year marks South Korea's first trip to the tournament, which has been played annually in Canada since 2007.
The Canadians have already qualified for the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
Canada will play a three-game exhibition series with the U.S. in North Carolina in January prior to the Paralympics.