Captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) and alternate captain Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) each posted a goal and an assist to lead the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team past Canada, 4-1, to close the 2019 Sled Series with its sixth victory of the season.
"That was a total team effort and a great rebound performance by our team to close this Series out with a win," said David Hoff, head coach of the 2018-19 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "It's always fun to win, but we know this still isn't where we want to be a month from now. There's another level we can reach and we'll aim to build on this when we come back to North Carolina in three weeks for our last training camp before Ostrava."
The victory pushes Team USA's 2018-19 season record to 6-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) ahead of the2019 Para Ice Hockey World Championship next month in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Team USA will enter the tournament seeking its fourth gold-medal after claiming the 2009, 2012 and 2015 world championships.
Pauls gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead 5:53 into the game with a powerplay tally. With the U.S. sustaining pressure deep in Canada's zone, Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) carried the puck below the right faceoff dot and dished it towards the top of the crease where Pauls was able to redirect it in for the game's opening goal.
Roybal nearly doubled Team USA's advantage midway through the frame when he sprung onto a loose puck for a breakaway chance that slid just wide of goal.
With 3:29 to play in the first stanza, Josh Hargis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) made it 2-0 for the U.S. when he finished a passing play from Pauls and Farmer.
The middle period started with an early U.S. goal as Rico Roman (Portland, Ore.) collected a pass in the slot from Josh Sweeney (Portland, Ore.) and lifted a left-handed wrist shot over Canada's goaltender, Corbin Watson.
With just over a minute to play in the second frame, it looked like Team USA had pushed its lead to 4-0 when an odd-man rush saw Pauls' effort slide beneath Watson before the goal was overturned for goaltender interference.
Less than 30 seconds later, a turnover in the neutral zone created a two-on-one opportunity between Farmer and Roybal that forced Watson out of position for Farmer to tap-in a 4-0 U.S. lead.
In the final stanza, Canada's Tyler McGregor scored 4:25 into the frame to cut the U.S. lead to 4-1.
With just over three minutes to play and the U.S. on a 5-on-3 powerplay, a centering feed from Pauls to Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) nearly made it 5-1 before a scoring chance by Canada's Liam Hickey was gloved away by Cash.
Another late scoring effort for Canada was blocked by Ralph DeQuebec (San Pedro, Calif.) to seal the U.S. victory, 4-1.
The win closes the 2019 Sled Series after Canada claimed yesterday's game, 4-3.
NOTES: Labatt USA and Toyota are proud sponsors of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... The United States will return to Indian Trail, N.C., from April 11-14 for its final training camp ahead of the 2019 Para Ice Hockey World Championship ... For complete coverage of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, click here.