TURIN, Italy — Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) each tallied a goal and an assist as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team topped Italy, 6-0, here today in its first game of the 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament at the Palaghiaccio Tazzoli.
“I thought we got better as the game went on and did what we needed to do to get the win,” said Guy Gosselin, head coach of the 2018 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “Their goalie played extremely well, but credit to our guys for persevering and getting this hard-earned win. We’ll rest up tonight and get ready for tomorrow’s game against Japan.”
Team USA (1-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) returns to action tomorrow (Jan. 23) when it takes on Japan. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. local time/9 a.m. ET at the Palaghiaccio Tazzoli.
The game opened with a flurry of chances for both teams. Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made a pair of key saves from the slot early before the U.S. was able to take control and outshoot Italy, 8-2, before Misiewicz converted with 1:06 remaining in the stanza. The play started when Roybal entered Italy’s zone and drew a defender towards him before dishing the puck to a wide-open Misiewicz who skated in and beat Italy’s goaltender Gabriele Araudo.
Team USA broke open the game with a three-goal second period. Roybal started the scoring just 22 seconds into the frame before Noah Grove (Frederick, Md.) added a tally 1:23 later with a shot from the right hashmark. With 5:11 remaining in the frame, Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) tucked a long-range shot into the top right corner to give the U.S. a 4-0 lead entering the second intermission.
In the final stanza, both Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.) and Ralph DeQuebec (San Pedro, Calif.) scored their first goals as members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to account for the 6-0 final. Dodson’s goal came at the 9:06 mark in the frame when he picked up a loose puck, cut around a defender and slid a shot past the outstretched arm of Italian goaltender Santino Stillitano. With 1:03 left in the game, DeQuebec connected with a long-ranged shot from the point while on the power play.
Cash finished with six saves in the shutout win.
NOTES: Nikko Landeros was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... The U.S. outshot Italy, 30-6, went 2-for-3 on the powerplay and was 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. For complete game stats, click here ... Yesterday, Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of USA Hockey and the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team, passed away in his sleep at his home in Colorado Springs. Johannson, who was a childhood teammate and eventual two-time Olympic teammate with U.S. National Sled Hockey Team head coach Guy Gosselin (Grafton, Wis.), was a part of U.S. national teams that claimed 34 gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze medals; played an instrumental role in the launching and implementation of the highly acclaimed American Development Model; and was involved in securing USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, as a home for all U.S. teams to utilize. For more, click here ... The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team was announced on Jan. 1, 2018, and can be seen here ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team ... Joining Gosselin behind the bench is assistant coach David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.) while additional U.S. staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich.).