OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Behind two goals and two assists from captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.), the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team earned a 9-0 victory today in semifinal action of the 2021 World Para Ice Hockey Championship. Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.), Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) also recorded multi-point games in the win. Team USA will play Canada in tomorrow’s (June 26) gold-medal game at 3 p.m. ET, live on Olympics.com. The game will air on a delayed basis on Olympic Channel at 6 p.m. ET.
“We wanted this win to get to our eventual goal and play for a gold medal,” said head coach David Hoff. “We wanted out best game to be Saturday and after a real solid effort from our team today, we’re trending in that direction.”
The U.S. jumped out to a 3-0 lead just 7:33 into the contest thanks to goals from Josh Hargis (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Noah Grove (Frederick, Md.) and Pauls. David Eustace (Stoneham, Mass.) fed Hargis for a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle for what proved to be the game-winning goal at 2:59, after Eustace rushed down ice to cancel an icing whistle. Grove was the beneficiary of a Misiewicz pass into the slot, and he finished in the top corner of the net, just out of reach from South Korea netminder Jae Woong Lee to make it 2-0. Just 25 seconds later, Roybal drew the defense down into the zone, leaving Pauls open to fire a wrister for a 3-0 advantage after the opening 15 minutes.
After Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) started in goal, Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) came into net for the U.S. to start the second period, but it was the offense that continued to put on a show. Farmer scored his first goal of the tournament on a breakaway at 9:16 that finished with a quick backhand to forehand move. Pauls drew an assist on the play with a nice up-ice feed. Farmer nearly collected his second tally 47 seconds later as Chris Douglas (St. Cloud, Fla.) fired a wrist shot from the slot. Farmer collected the rebound, and as the puck trickled past Woong Lee, Misiewicz tucked away the puck into the back of the net.
Roybal started the scoring in the final frame, controlling the puck down low to the corner before cutting across two defenders and finishing in front to put the U.S. ahead, 6-0. Pauls added his second goal of the game, set up thanks to his defensive partner Douglas’ cross-ice pass into the slot at 8:16. Douglas picked up another tally when his centering attempt to Misiewicz wound up getting under the sled of Woong Lee and into the back of the net. Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) finished the scoring, putting one home off the rebound of an initial shot from Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) with 3:01 left.
Cash did not have to make a save in his one period of action, while Lee had one stop in the final 30 minutes.
NOTES: Josh Pauls was named the U.S. Player of the Game … Josh Misiewicz celebrated his 33rd birthday today with a goal and an assist in the win … The U.S. outshot South Korea by a 47-1 count … Team USA was 0-1 on the power play, while South Korea was 0-2 … The U.S. will be seeking its fifth gold medal at the IPC Para Ice Hockey World Championship.