Canada's sledge win clinches semi-final berth

BOB MACKIN , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:58 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Canada clinched a semifinal berth in sledge hockey on Sunday with a 10-1 win over Sweden at the 2010 Winter Paralympics.

Bradley Bowden of Orton, Ont., scored twice in the first period to pace Canada with a 4-1 lead at Thunderbird Arena. The Turin 2006 gold medallists never looked back after scoring twice on the power play and netting a pair of short-handed goals in the second.

Greg Westlake and Adam Dixon, both of Mississauga, Ont., made it 6-1 for Canada on the man advantage in the middle frame. Westlake and Marc Dorion registered back-to-back shorthanded markers later in the period during the 10-minute misconduct served by Billy Bridges of Mississauga for checking to the head and neck area.

Westlake, who also scored in the first period, has five goals in two games. Bourget, Ontario’s Dorion scored his second and third goals of the game in the third.

“We were able to capitalize early on in the game and I think that momentum carried forward into the rest of the game,” Dorion said.

Bowden’s shot trickled behind Swedish goaltender Ulf Nilsson for the first goal of the game. Sweden responded just 13 seconds later when Niklas Ingvarsson beat Canadian goaltender Benoit St-Amand of St-Hubert, Que. It was the only Swedish shot on goal until late in the third period. Canada had not surrendered a goal in Paralympic play since the preliminary round at Turin four years ago. Canada outshot Sweden 32-3.

“I don’t think a lot of us are going to get too excited about how we dominated today,” said Bowden.

Turin silver medallist Norway edged Italy 2-1 in the earlier game. Canada faces Norway on Tuesday to end the preliminary round.

Meanwhile, Colette Bourgonje won Canada’s first medal of the 2010 Paralympics. The part-time Saskatoon teacher took silver in the 10 kilometre cross-country sit-ski on Sunday at the Whistler Paralypmic Park.

Six-time Paralympian Bourgonje, 48, suffered a spinal cord injury in a 1980 car crash. She won two silvers at Nagano 1998.

"I felt strong today, my skis were awesome. Thanks to the team on the course, they were awesome too,” Bourgonje said. “I am very happy with the result today. I fell on the downhill but managed to pull myself back."

Liudmila Vauchok of Belarus won gold.


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