Canada loses sledge hockey bronze

BOB MACKIN , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:00 AM ET

VANCOUVER - Eskil Hagen scored with just 3.6 seconds left to give Norway a 2-1 win over host Canada and the bronze medal in Paralympic sledge hockey on Friday night.

Hagen intercepted a failed clearance by captain Jean Labonte of Gatineau, Que. His shot, deflected by Billy Bridges of Mississauga, Ont., sailed by the outstretched stick of goaltender Paul Rosen of Thornhill, Ont.

"That is a hard shot for the goalie,” Hagen said. “You have the glaring lights and he has a balance problem. To get a shot like that, with that arch, it was special."

The game was scoreless until 2:45 of the third period when Bridges hit a Norwegian defender and cleared a path for Adam Dixon of Mississauga to beat Norwegian goaltender Roger Johansen.

Helge Bjornstad thought he had the equalizer almost two and a half minutes later when a potted a shot that dribbled out of Rosen’s glove. The goal was denied by referee Johnathan Morrison.

Dixon intervened in a goalmouth scramble when Rosen was caught out of position and covered a puck shot point blank by Stig Tore Svee. Rosen threw off his helmet in disgust when Morrison awarded Norway a penalty shot. Rolf Einar Pedersen beat Rosen on his left for the tying goal with 8:52 remaining.

Canada outshot Norway 18-12 but received four of the five third period penalties.

Canada beat Norway for the gold medal at Turin 2006, but both teams lost their semifinals on Thursday. Defending world champion United States faces underdog Japan in the gold medal final on Saturday.

Paid attendance was announced as 5,462. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper watched the game from ice-level seats with Rick Hansen. Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff was in the grandstand beside Canadian Olympic Committee vice-president Tricia Smith and VANOC CEO John Furlong.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca


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