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Team USA Tops Czech Republic; Wins Group A

04/16/2013, 8:45am EDT
By Matt Trevor, USA Hockey

Kevin McKee, Josh Sweeney and Declan Farmer scored in Team USA's 3-0 win.

Goyang, South Korea – The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated the Czech Republic, 3-0, today at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship to capture first place in Group A with a record of 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L). Team USA will play Russia in the semifinal round on Thursday (April 18).

"The way we approached today's game was very positive," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "The first period we were great and the second period we took some time off. We lost our focus a bit in the third period but the bottom line is we got the win. A lot of people got a chance to play a lot of hockey against the Czechs and hopefully that will pay off as we move on against Russia."

Kevin McKee (Davenport, Iowa) staked Team USA to a 1-0 lead at 5:43 of the first frame. Alexi Salamone (Buffalo, N.Y.) contributed the primary assist by threading a pass from atop the right circle to the low slot. McKee received the puck in-stride and slid it around the outstretched goaltender.

At 4:22 of the second period, Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.) made it 2-0 amidst a swarm of players near the crease. Adam Page (Lanaster, N.Y.) and Paul Schaus (Buffalo, N.Y.) dug the puck loose following a shot from the point and Sweeney tapped it home near the right post.

Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) stretched the lead to 3-0 late in the second period with a great individual effort. As a Czech player tried to hit him, Farmer stopped hard at the hash marks to let the defender slide by and then rifled a right-hand shot under the crossbar. Greg Shaw (Merritt Island, Fla.) assisted on the tally.

Goalies Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) and Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) shared the shutout for the third straight game. Cash started the game and made seven stops in 37:31. Lee stopped three shots in 7:29.

Team USA will take on Russia in the semifinals on Thursday at 2 a.m. ET (3 p.m. Korea Time).

Tag(s): Sled  National Sled Team  World Championship  2013 Sled Worlds