The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team meets Canada here this afternoon in the championship game of the 2018 Para Hockey Cup. Puck drop at the Western Fair Sports Center in London, Ontario, is set for 4 p.m. Period updates will be available at @usahockey on Twitter.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME REGULARS
Tonight's game is a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in which the U.S. came from behind in dramatic fashion to capture the Paralympic gold medal with a 2-1 overtime win. Alternate captain Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored the game-tying goal with 37.8 seconds left in regulation and tallied the golden goal 3:30 into overtime.
Since the 2015 Para Hockey Cup that saw the U.S. edge Russia, 2-1, in overtime, the U.S. and Canada have met in the championship game seven consecutive international tournaments. In those meetings, the U.S. holds a 6-1 advantage, with its lone loss coming in the 2017 Para Ice Hockey World Championship.
The U.S. has a chance to claim its fifth-straight tournament title having won the 2015, 2016 (Jan.), 2016 (Dec.) and 2017 events. Additionally, a victory today would give the U.S. its tournament-record seventh in event history after also claiming championships in 2009 and 2012. To date, no other nation has claimed as many as Team USA's six.
LEADING THE WAY
Entering today's championship game, U.S. alternate captain Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) leads all skaters in goals (8) and points (11) while fellow teammate Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) has a tournament-best seven assists. In net, Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) rank first and second, respectively, in both goals against average (Lee - 0.00, Cash - 0.50) and save percentage (Lee - 1.00, Cash - 0.933).
HOW WE GOT HERE
The road to the 2018 Para Hockey Cup championship game started last Monday (Dec. 3) with a 3-0 shutout win over Canada. The next day, Team USA topped South Korea, 9-0, and enjoyed a day of rest of Wednesday (Dec. 5). After edging Canada, 4-1, on Thursday (Dec. 6), the U.S. again blanked South Korea yesterday, this time by an 8-0 tally.
OTHER USA HOCKEY HAPPENINGS
Last night, USA Hockey hosted its annual Holiday Party in Colorado Springs, Colo., that included a visit from the Stanley Cup ... The 2018 U.S. Junior Select Team defeated Canada East, 3-1, last night in a pre-tournament contest ahead of the 2018 World Junior A Challenge ... On Wednesday (Dec. 5), the 29-player roster for the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team was unveiled live on NHL Network. The team will begin training camp next Friday (Dec. 14) in Everett, Washington, just 30 minutes north of Seattle, which on Tuesday (Dec. 4) was authorized to file an application for an NHL expansion team to become the 32nd NHL franchise and begin play in the 2020-21 season ... Over the last 10 seasons, the total number of hockey players in the Seattle area has increased by 46%.