BRIDGEWATER, Nova Scotia – Evan Nichols (Haymarket, Va.) tallied a hattrick and JackWallace (Franklin lakes, N.J.) recorded three points (1 goal, 2 assists) to lift the U.S. National Sled Team to an 11-0 victory over Italy in the Para Hockey Cup semifinals here today at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
With the win, the U.S. moves to 3-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and will take on the winner of the Canada vs. Czechia semifinal game in the championship game on Sat. (Dec. 3) at 3:00 p.m. ET.
“We jumped on them right away, and it was nice to be able to get some of the younger guys like Nichols and Brett Bolton (Rockledge, Fla.) involved,” said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the U.S. National Sled Team.
The U.S. found itself on the scoresheet early in the opening frame, as Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) stickhandled past a handful of defenders and entered the zone with a three-on-one opportunity alongside Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) and Chris Douglas (Saint Cloud, Fla.). Roybal passed the puck to Misiewicz, who left it for Douglas, who picked up his first goal of the tournament just 28 seconds in. Less than a minute later, Nichols scored off a feed from Wallace at 1:18 to put the U.S. up two. Nichols picked up his second of the game, burying a backdoor feed from Joseph Woodke (Nashville, Tenn.) on the power play at 4:01, giving Nichols his third tally of the tournament.
With just under ten minutes to go, Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.) left a no-look drop pass for Roybal in the offensive zone, who sent in a shot on goal that Misiewicz tipped past the netminder to give the U.S. a four-goal lead. Wallace weaved through the Italian defense and scored his fourth goal in as many games, extending the U.S. advantage to five midway through the period. Nichols completed a first period hattrick with two minutes to go in the frame, and Declan Farmer(Tampa, Fla.) wristed a shot off the crossbar and in just over 30 seconds later, as the U.S. headed into intermission with a 7-0 lead.
Bolton put Team USA up 8-0 at the 5:20 mark of the second period, scoring his first career goal for the U.S. National Sled Team. Bolton approached the net from the left side before rifling a shot into the top right corner on a penalty shot. Less than a minute later, Dodson gave the U.S. a 9-0 lead with his second of the tournament. Malik Jones (Aurora, Colo.) forced an offensive zone turnover moments later and scored a wrap-around goal for his first of the tournament. Bolton picked up his second career goal with just under three minutes remaining off a top-shelf wrist shot as the U.S. went up 11-0.
Goaltender Griffin LaMarre (Haverhill, Mass.) recorded a shutout in 45:00 minutes of action.
NOTES: Evan Nichols was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Italy 30-2 … The U.S. was 1-1 on the power play, while Italy had no power plays.