Japan stuns Canada in sledge hockey semis

Canada's Greg Westlake gets stopped by Naohiko Ishida and Noritaka Ito of Japan during the sledge...

Canada's Greg Westlake gets stopped by Naohiko Ishida and Noritaka Ito of Japan during the sledge hockey semi-finals. (Carmine Marinelli/QMI AGENCY)

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:44 PM ET

VANCOUVER - A new Paralympic sledge hockey champion will be crowned after Japan shocked host Canada 3-1 in a semifinal on Thursday.

With 1:13 remaining in the third period, Daisuke Uehara beat Canadian goaltender Paul Rosen after a give-and-go with Kazuhiro Takahashi to break a 1-1 deadlock in the physical, end-to-end game at Thunderbird Arena.

Canadaís Greg Westlake, the tournamentís leading scorer with seven markers, cleared the puck from deep in the Japanese end into his own empty with 16 seconds left. Takayuki Endo was credited with the insurance marker.

Marc Dorion opened scoring at 9:56 of the first period after hammering away at two of his own rebounds. Endo equalized at 7:27 of the second period.

Both Rosen and Japanís Mitsuru Nagase made game-saving stops for their teams, but Nagase was the player of the game for turning away 19 of 20 Canadian shots. Rosen saved eight of 10 shots he faced before being pulled for the extra attacker.

Japanís only previous win over Canada was 2-1 in the preliminary round at Salt Lake 2002.

Canada, the Turin 2006 gold medallist, will play for the bronze medal on Friday. Japan will face either defending world champion United States or 2006 silver medallist Norway for the gold medal on Saturday.


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