Canada's national team was handed its first loss at the 2017 world para-hockey championship on Monday, losing 2-1 to the undefeated U.S. team. Canada came up short in what was its fifth defeat in the last six meetings against the Americans.
Tyler McGregor, who has seven goals and 12 points in the tournament, opened the scoring by giving Canada a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Canada had gone relatively unchallenged through the first three games of the tournament and outshot the Americans 5-1 in the first period of Monday's action in Gangneung, South Korea.
However, Canada's shutout streak of over 206 minutes ended when U.S. player Nikko Landeros banked a power-play goal off Canadian goalie Dominic Larocque to tie the game up in the second period. Up until this point Canada had outscored its tournament opponents 36-0 in games against Norway, Italy and host South Korea.
The U.S. would score the go-ahead goal just under three minutes later when Declan Farmer put another puck past Larocque after splitting the Canadian defence.
Despite Canada's 12-8 shot advantage, including multiple opportunities in close to even up the score, Canada failed to find the back of the net in the third period. McGregor and fellow Canadian teammate Billy Bridges both had scoring opportunities late in the final frame, with four of the team's final five shots coming in the last three minutes of play.
"It was a good game, very physical and high-paced," Canada head coach Ken Babey said. "We didn't capitalize on our chances. We will learn from this and move forward to our next game."
American goalie Steve Cash put in a star performance with 11 saves on the day, while Larocque made six saves for Canada.
The Canadians will wrap up their preliminary round action on Tuesday night (CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET) when they take on Germany. Even with Monday's loss, Canada is tied for first-place with 12 points in the tournament alongside the Americans, but the U.S. still has a game in hand on its counterparts.
Canada can stamp its ticket to the gold-medal game with a win over Germany.
This is the first world championship to take place since the International Paralympic Committee rebranded the sport from sledge hockey to para-hockey in November.