OSTRAVA, Czechia – Ben Musselman (Amelia, Ohio) and Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored two goals apiece to lead the U.S. National Sled Team to a 9-1 victory over Team IPH here today in its opening game of the International Para Hockey Cup at RT Torax Arena.
“The guys played a solid high tempo game today,” Said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the U.S. National Sled Team, “It was nice to see multiple players get on the scoresheet. Overall I was pleased with our performance as we gear up for Czechia tomorrow.”
Malik Jones (Aurora, Colo.) scored the opening goal 4:45 into the first period, driving hard to the net after a pass from Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) at the blue line. Following the goal, the U.S. generated several strong chances in the offensive zone but were stifled by Team IPH netminder Eduard Lepacek until newcomer Ben Musselman found the back of the net off of a shot from the left faceoff dot with 6:57 remaining in the period. Defenseman Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) extended the U.S. lead later in the period with assists from Ralph DeQuebec (San Pedro, Calif.) and Kyle Zych (South Hadley, Mass.), carrying the puck by several opposing players from the neutral zone into the low slot, before putting one past Lepacek. Team IPH scored with just over a minute remaining in the period to cut the U.S. lead to 3-1 heading into the second.
Team USA generated several scoring chances to begin the second period, most notably a give-and-go opportunity for Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) that was ultimately denied by a diving save. After a series of stops by Team IPH, Farmer eventually found the back of the net off a feed from Roybal 5:47 into the period.
Rob Easley (Denver, Colo.) scored his first career National Sled Team goal off an assist from David Eustace (Stoneham, Mass.) with 7:49 left in the period to extend the lead to 5-1, and just 22 seconds later Eustace found his name on the scoresheet again, scoring his first goal of the season off a feed from captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.). Just over a minute later, Malik Jones was stopped on a breakaway, but Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.) was there on the follow-up, batting the rebound past the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper.
The U.S. scored two goals in the final minute of the middle frame, including one by Farmer and another off the stick of Musselman to take a 9-1 lead headed into the third, which would ultimately prove to be the final score.
Griffin LaMarre (Haverhill, Mass.) picked up the win in the U.S. net with six saves in all 45 minutes of action.
The U.S. will play its second preliminary round game tomorrow (Sept. 25) against Czechia, with opening faceoff set for 1 p.m. ET. A live stream of the game will be available here.
NOTES: Ben Musselman was named the U.S. Player of the Game… The U.S. outshot Team IPH 42-9.