Blenkhorn wins gold with national amputee team

Staff ~ The Amherst Citizen
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blenkhorn wins

MONTREAL, QUE. - A pair of Nova Scotians are among Canada's most recent hockey gold medallists.

Amherst's Brad Blenkhorn and Ryan Sloan, Stellarton, had gold medals hanging around their necks, Sunday, following an 11-2 win over Finland in the final of the 2010 ISIHF World Amputee Hockey Championships.

"The tournament was excellent," said two-time world champion Blenkhorn, 29, from Montreal where the event was held.

"We came here with a mission in mind and the mission has been accomplished. We wanted to keep our undefeated streak alive and we're happy we could complete the mission."

For 19-year-old Sloan, the win was an unreal experience.

"I was really happy with how I played," said the rookie as he traveled with family back to Nova Scotia. "I played as much as I had expected to play. Being as it was my first time, I may not have gotten as much play as some of the veterans, but that's something to look forward to."

The Canadians started the six-day tournament at Arena Saint-Michel with a 6-4 win over Finland on Tuesday, which was the closest match throughout the tournament.

It was Wednesday night's game, however, that will remain a special one for both Sloan and Blenkhorn - they both scored their first goals for the national team during an 8-1 win over Latvia.

"It was awesome...unreal actually," said Sloan.

We came here with a mission in mind and the mission has been accomplished. We wanted to keep our undefeated streak alive and we're happy we could complete the mission. - Brad Blenkhorn

Thursday's match-up saw the Canadians take on the ‘World' team in an exhibition game, defeating those representing a number of different countries, 10-1.

But it was Friday night's game that may have been the biggest for the Canadians to win.

In the past four world championships, it has always been down to those two countries vying for the gold, with Canada always coming out on top, and this year was no different.

Canada shutout the U.S., 5-0, to clinch top spot in the tournament.

Thanks to a 4-2 Finland win over the U.S. on Saturday, it was a different scenario during the gold medal game this year.

After one period of play, Canada was leading 4-0 over Finland, with the competitors scoring within the first 40 seconds into the second.

By the end of the second period, Canada had an 8-1 lead and would go on to win the game, 11-2.

"I think we exceeded our expectations. We kept coming from the first drop of the puck to the final buzzer and didn't stop," said Blenkhorn.

Now, it's a summer off for the hockey players before beginning training for the first camp on the way to forming the 2012 team to represent Canada at the world championships in Finland.

Geographic location: Canada, Finland, MONTREAL Nova Scotians Nova Scotia U.S. Latvia

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