Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) scored five goals and Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) added five points as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated the Czech Republic, 10-2, to advance to the gold-medal game at the 2019 Para Ice Hockey World Championship.
"This was a real fun game to be apart of and we're certainly happy to be moving on and having the chance to play for gold tomorrow," said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the 2018-19 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "The atmosphere tonight was absolutely incredible and I think this is a game our players will remember for a long time. We'll enjoy this win tonight and get ready to turn our attention towards facing a strong team in Canada tomorrow."
The United States (4-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will meet Canada in tomorrow's (May 4) gold-medal game. A rematch of Team USA's preliminary-round 3-1 victory, puck drop is set for 4:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. ET) at Ostravar Arena. The game will be broadcast live in the United States on the Olympic Channel and also aired by NBCSN tape-delayed at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The Czech Republic opened the scoring in front of a sellout crowd just 3:10 into the game. With the U.S. attempting a breakout from the defensive zone, a turnover in the neutral zone led to Michal Geier firing a shot over the blocker of goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) to give the host nation an early 1-0 lead.
The next four minutes of play saw Czech's goaltender, Martin Kudela, make a flurry of saves to keep the U.S. off the scoreboard. Team USA's best chance in the frenzy came when U.S. captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) went end-to-end for a breakaway opportunity that was gloved away.
Midway through the frame, Wallace netted his first goal of the game on a U.S. powerplay to even the score, 1-1. The play started with Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) collecting the puck at the blue line, curling towards the slot and dishing the puck towards the left of goal for a one-timer goal by Wallace.
Less than a minute later, Luke McDermott (Westerlo, N.Y.) gave the U.S. a one-goal lead off a centering feed from Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.).
With :58 to play in the game's opening frame, Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) pushed Team USA's lead to 3-1 when he shifted the puck beneath his sled and rifled a left-handed shot into the top-left corner for a two-goal U.S. advantage to enter the first intermission.
The middle frame saw a total of eight goals scored to push the score to 8-2 in favor of the U.S.
Four U.S. goals in the first five minutes of play started the melee. After Wallace connected just :24 into the frame, Roybal scored 1:15 later before Wallace netted his third goal of the game at the 3:45 mark. Just :41 later, Pauls tucked a shot from the slot under the crossbar to make it 7-1 for Team USA.
Just past the midway point of the period, Farmer tallied his second of the game before the Czech's Pavel Kubes responded 54 seconds later to push the score to 8-2.
Another pair of goals by Wallace in the final six minutes of the second period pushed Team USA's lead to 10-2.
Neither team scored in the final stanza as Cash finished with six saves on seven shots as the U.S. sealed the victory to advance to its sixth straight gold-medal game at the world championship.
NOTES: Jack Wallace was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... In front of a sellout crowd of 8,600 fans, the U.S. outshot the Czech Republic, 26-8, and went 2-for-2 on the powerplay. For complete game statistics, click here ... Labatt USA and Toyota are proud sponsors of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... This is the sixth-straight world championship gold-medal game the U.S. will play. Team USA is 3-3 in gold-medal games at the world championship, capturing gold in 2009 (Ostrava, Czech Republic), 2012 (Hamar, Norway) and 2015 (Buffalo, N.Y.) and earning silver in 2004 (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden), 2013 (Goyang, South Korea) and 2017 (Gangneung, South Korea) ... For complete coverage of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, click here.
|Date||Opponent||Result||U.S. Player of the Game||Venue||Broadcast|
|April 27||Canada||W, 3-1||Noah Grove||Ostravar Arena||Olympic Channel - Live|
|April 28||South Korea||W, 4-0||Josh Pauls||Ostravar Arena||Olympic Channel - Live|
|April 30||Norway||W, 10-0||Luke McDermott||Ostravar Arena||Olympic Channel - Live|
|May 3||Czech Republic
|W, 10-2||Jack Wallace||Ostravar Arena||Olympic Channel - Live|
|OTW, 3-2||Declan Farmer||Ostravar Arena||Olympic Channel - Live
NBCSN (5:30 p.m. ET)