Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) scored twice to lead the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to a 4-0 win over the Czech Republic in preliminary round play here today at the 2021 Para Ice Hockey World Championship. Team USA put 51 shots on goal in the victory and allowed just one shot on goal in the contest.
“I thought today was a very solid performance from our group, and hats off to their goaltender for making more than 40 saves,” said head coach David Hoff. “We need to reset, just like we did yesterday, and focus on moving forward to Tuesday against South Korea.”
The U.S. started strong with solid scoring opportunities from both Wallace and Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.) in the first :35 of the contest. A drive to the net by Josh Hargis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) resulted in a penalty shot just 1:07 into the contest, but Hargis’ attempt against Czech netminder Martin Kudela went wide. Kudela stopped all 17 shots he faced in the period and kept the game scoreless after the opening 15 minutes.
Team USA scored twice in just over a minute span in the opening six minutes of the second period. Noah Grove (Frederick, Md.) wired a pass to Wallace, who used his momentum toward the net to set up a wrist shot high and over the outstretched glove of Kudela at 4:15. Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) followed up the tally shooting high on the short side over the head of Kudela at 5:34. Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) and Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.) picked up assists on the play. It appeared Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) pushed the U.S. to a 3-0 lead as time expired in the middle frame, but replay confirmed that the puck crossed past the goal line after the clock hit zero.
Wallace scored his second of the game at 3:40 of the third period off a highlight-reel end-to-end rush. He started with the puck behind his own net, came over the right side of the blueline, cut to the front of the net, and put it past Kudela. Chris Douglas (St. Cloud, Fla.) finished the scoring with 1:20 left when he fired a shot home from above the right circle after Rico Roman (Portland, Ore.) won the faceoff. Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) started in net for the U.S.
Team USA returns to action on Tuesday (June 22) as they close out Group A play against South Korea. Opening faceoff is set for 2:45 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on Olympic Channel.
NOTES: Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Czech Republic, 51-1 … The U.S. went 0-for-4 on the power play, while Czech Republic was 0-for-2.