Team USA Wins Third-Consecutive World Sledge Hockey Challenge. U.S. Tops Canada, 5-2, To Clinch Sixth-Straight International Championship
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The U.S. National Sledge Hockey Team netted five goals in the second period to defeat Canada, 5-2, in the championship game at the 2016 (Dec.) World Sledge Hockey Challenge at MacLauchlan Arena.
The victory gives Team USA (4-1-0-0; W-OTW-OTL-L) an unprecented third-straight World Sledge Hockey Challenge title after claiming titles at the event this past January in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, and the 2015 tournament in Leduc, Alberta. The U.S., which also won the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in 2009 and 2012, has now claimed six straight major international titles, a streak that began at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“This week was about 17 players coming together as a team,” said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “The consistency we’ve been able to have as of late is a testament to their hard work off the ice. It’s an absolutely pleasure to coach this group of guys.”
Both teams traded chances throughout the opening period, but Canada entered the first intermission with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a goal from Liam Hickey 6:58 into the period. Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.), named player of the game for the second consecutive World Sled Hockey Challenge championship game, made the initial save before Hickey tapped in the rebound.
Team USA took control of the game in the middle frame, erupting for five goals and outshooting Canada, 10-2. Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) started the scoring just 1:07 into the period when his shot from below the left circle beat Canada’s goaltender Corbin Watson. The play started when Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) entered Canada’s zone and found Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) above the left faceoff dot. Farmer curled towards the middle of the ice and drew a pair of defenders towards him before finding McKee down low for the tying goal.
Just 22 seconds later Paul Schaus (Buffalo, N.Y.) gave the U.S. the lead with a low glove-side shot from the slot off a apass by Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y). Roybal extended Team USA’s lead to 3-1 less than two minutes later when he skated down the left side and tucked the puck under the crossbar. The goal, assisted by Farmer and Tyler Carron (Fort Collins, Colo.), capped a three-goal span in the first 3:02 of the stanza.
Canada cut Team USA’s lead to one when Brad Bowden scored with 3:20 remaining in the period, but the U.S. regained a two-goal lead just 39 seconds later on the powerplay off a breakaway goal from Roybal.
Team USA made it 5-2 with 38 seconds left in the frame when Farmer netted his eighth marker of the tournament, which broke a record shared by himself and Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, COlo.) for the most goals scored by a U.S. player in a single World Sled Hockey Challenge. In addition, Farmer’s 17 points (8-9) also saw him set a new U.S. record for most points by a U.S. player in a single World Sled Hockey Challenge while finishing as the tournament-leading scorer for the third straight World Sled Hockey Challenge.
Cash finished with 14 saves, including seven in the final frame, to backstop Team USA to a 5-2 victory.
2016 (Dec.) World Sled Hockey Challenge • Team USA Schedule
Dec. 4-10 – Charlottetown, P.E.I. – MacLauchlan Arena
|Date||Opponent||Result||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Sun., Dec. 4||Korea||W, 4-0||Nikko Landeros|
|Mon., Dec. 5||Norway||W, 8-0||Kevin McKee|
|Wed., Dec. 7||Canada||OTW, 2-1||Declan Farmer|
|Thurs., Dec. 8||Korea||W, 8-1||Paul Schaus|
|Sat., Dec. 10||Canada
|W, 5-2||Steve Cash|