The U.S. National Sled Team defeated Russia, 6-1, in its opening game of the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships competition today. Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) stopped 13 of 14 shots and captain, Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.), notched two goals in the contest to help Team USA to victory.
"It was fantastic to finally be able to play in front of a crowd like this in our home country," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the 2015 U.S. National Sled Team. "I think our players were a little anxious at first, but as the game progressed we started moving the puck better, which helped us open the game."
The U.S. opened the scoring in the first period when Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) dug the puck out of the of corner and passed to Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) in front of the net for an easy goal at 7:02.
Just 1:39 into the middle stanza, Tyler Carron (Fort Collins, Colo.) fed Sweeney a pass on the rush, and Sweeney roofed the shot for the 2-0 lead. At 5:27 of the frame, with Team USA on the power play, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) passed from the left circle into the slot and Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) put the puck past Russia's goaltender Evgenii Plotnikov to make it 3-0. Late in the period, Russia got on the board to make it 3-1 heading in to the final frame.
At 6:30 of the third period, the U.S. tallied its second power-play goal of the game when Pauls got past the Russia defense and shoveled a shot into the net. In the final two minutes of play, Sweeney scored another power-play goal, helping Team USA go three-for-six with the man advantage. Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) added a marker with two minutes remaining for the 6-1 final.
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will continue preliminary-round action tomorrow (April 27) against Germany at HARBORCENTER. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Notes: Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) was named U.S. Player of the Game ... Dan Brennan, director of sled and inline national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager. Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) is serving as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team for the fourth season ... Additional staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich.) … For tournament information, visit 2015SledWorlds.com. For live updates, follow @USAHockeyScores on Twitter and join the conversation on social media by using #Buffalo2015.
Tag(s): 2015 Sled Worlds