The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team finished its record-breaking 2014-15 season with a gold medal at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships. This is the fifth time in the last seven seasons in which the United States has won a gold medal in an IPC event.* In 13 games this season, the U.S. scored 59 goals, allowed just six goals against, and broke 12 team records while going undefeated for the first time with a 12-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record.
“Going undefeated this season was incredible,” said Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.), captain of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “It really says a lot about the individuals we have on this team because it took every one of us giving our best to make it happen.”
Expectations were high entering the season as eleven members of this year’s U.S. squad helped Team USA claim gold at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The six newcomers – led by Josh Misiewicz’s (La Grange, Ill.) 11 points (5-6) – contributed 21 points to help continue the team’s winning ways.
2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge
The season began in Leduc, Alberta, with the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge that included Canada, Korea, and Russia. The six-day tournament (Feb. 1-7) began and ended with the United States facing Russia. After defeating Russia, 3-2, in a thrilling rematch of the gold-medal game of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the two teams met again in the championship game, where the U.S. scored just 19 seconds into overtime to claim the tournament title.
The U.S., who won all five games for the first time, led the tournament in goals (23), fewest goals against (4), goals-per-game (4.6), goals-against-per-game (0.8), and power-play percentage (40%). Forward Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) had nine points (3-6) in five games to pace all players, marking the first time an American led the event in points. He also set Team USA records for assists (6) and points (9) in a World Sled Hockey Challenge. Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) led all defensemen in points (4-4—8) and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) finished with a tournament-best 0.66 goals-against-average that ranks third all-time in tournament history.
Three-Game Series vs. Canada
Team USA returned to action in March in Indian Trail, North Carolina, where they hosted Canada in a three-game series. The U.S. won the opener, 2-0, before earning a 3-1 victory in game two. Canada’s goal in the second game was its first against the U.S. in four games, ending Cash’s shutout streak against the Canadians at 138 minutes. The U.S. closed the series with a 2-0 shutout to complete the series sweep for the first time.
Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) led the series in points (2-3—5) and shared the series lead in goals (2) with Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.). Cash finished the series with one goal allowed over 135 minutes of play for a 0.33 GAA, .964 SV%, and two shutouts.
2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships
The season culminated with the United States hosting the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Buffalo, New York. Team USA defeated Russia (6-1), Germany (7-0), and Italy (7-0), to finish first in their group for the second consecutive world championship. The semifinals saw the U.S. shut out Norway, 6-0, to earn its fourth consecutive trip to the world championship gold-medal game. In a rematch of the 2013 gold-medal game, the United States blanked Canada, 3-0, to earn its third gold medal in the last four world championships.
Playing in his hometown, forward Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) led the team with 11 points (5-6), setting a new Team USA record for most points in a world championship. His 19 career world championship points are also a U.S. best. Farmer led the team with six goals, which tied former Team USA member Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas), for most goals in a single world championship by a U.S. player. Roybal’s seven assists led the team and rank second all-time for a U.S. player in a world championship. In five games, Cash stopped 32-of-33 shots to finish with a 0.27 GAA, .970 SV%, and four shutouts, all of which are U.S. records.
NOTES: The 2002 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, which was governed by the United States Olympic Committee, won all five games in the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games, including three exhibition games, to finish with a 7-1-0-0 record ... In six gold-medal games (World Championship: 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015; Paralympics: 2010, 2014), Steve Cash holds a 5-1 record and has allowed just two goals on 53 shots for a 0.33 GAA, 0.962 SV%, and four shutouts … The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has reach the championship game in the last eight major international events, claiming the top prize five times, including the 2012 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Calgary, Alberta; the 2012 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Hamar, Norway; the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alberta; and the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Buffalo, New York … Dan Brennan, director of inline and sled national teams for USA Hockey, served as general manager. For the fourth season, Jeff Sauer, served as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and was assisted by Guy Gosselin. Additional staff members included team physician Mike Uihlein, athletic trainer Mike Cortese, and equipment manager Joel Isaacson … Tryouts for the 2015-16 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will take place July 12-13, 2015, in Buffalo, New York.
*There was no World Championship or Paralympic Winter Games in 2011