CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made 20 saves and four different U.S. players scored as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team edged Canada, 5-2, to finish preliminary round play undefeated at the 2017 World Sled Hockey Challenge here at MacLaughlin Arena.
"We had a strong start but really had to dig deep there in the third period to get a hard-earned win," said Guy Gosselin, head coach of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “Our players learned a lot tonight and know there's still room for improvement. Three wins is nice, but now we have to turn our attention to tomorrow's semifinal against Italy if we want to play for the championship on Saturday."
Team USA (3-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will meet Italy in the semifinals tomorrow with the winner earning a spot in the championship game on Saturday (Dec. 9). Puck drop is set for 12 p.m. local time/11 a.m. ET and will be streamed live on HockeyTV.com.
The U.S. opened the scoring just 4:11 into the game. The play started with the U.S. sustaining pressure in Canada’s zone before Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) found a loose puck near the slot, skated towards the net and tucked a shot under the sled of Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson for a 1-0 lead.
Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) then doubled Team USA’s advantage 2:44 later with his team-leading fifth goal of the tournament. A miscue by a Canadian defender left the puck alone at the right face-off dot, which Farmer picked up and fired past Watson’s glove for the 2-0 lead.
With 4:25 remaining in the period, Canada’s Billy Bridges beat Cash with a high snap shot to make it 2-1 in favor of the U.S.
Both teams traded chances early in the middle stanza before Bridges tallied his second of the game at the 9:47 mark to knot the score, 2-2.
The U.S. regained its lead with 1:47 remaining when Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) tallied his first goal of the tournament by finishing a give-and-go passing opportunity with Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) right in front of the net.
McKee put the U.S. up, 4-2, just :44 into the final stanza with a wrist shot from the slot that hit Watson, flipped into the air and fell into the net. With 20 seconds remaining, Roybal put home an empty-net goal to account for the 5-2 final.
Cash stopped 20 of 22 shots he faced to seal the victory for Team USA.
NOTES: Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. was outshot, 14-22 ... For the complete box score, click here … Deloitte, Labatt USA and Toyota are proud sponsors of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Guy Gosselin (Grafton, Wis.), a two-time U.S. Olympian (1988, 1992) and USA Hockey's regional manager of the American Development Model, is in his first season as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Joining Gosselin behind the bench is assistant coach David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.) while additional U.S. staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich.) ... The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is expected to be announced on Jan. 1, 2018.