The come-from-behind win gave the United States an unprecedented third-straight Paralympic gold medal after Team USA also won gold medals in the event at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. All-time, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team has now medaled in five of its six Paralympic appearances (gold - 2002, 2010, 2014, 2018; bronze - 2006).
“It was an absolute honor to coach this team and help them finish the mission Coach Sauer started, and that was to ultimately win this Paralympic gold medal,” said Guy Gosselin, head coach of the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to go and hug your teammates as gold medalists,” added captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.). “We’ll be able to take this with us for the rest of our lives.”
Team USA celebrates gold with 'JS' shield, a tribute to Jeff Sauer, who passed away in February 017
The road to gold in PyeongChang began on Sunday, March 11, with Team USA earning a 10-0 victory over Japan in the preliminary round. A day after setting a new U.S. record for most goals in a single Paralympic game, the U.S. matched its record by blanking the Czech Republic by the same 10-0 score. With an 8-0 shutout win over host Korea on Tuesday, March 13, the U.S. finished atop Group B to earn one of the top-two seeds for the semifinal round.
Through three games, the U.S. entered semifinal play with the tournament’s two leading scorers in forwards Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.). While Farmer’s 13 points (8-5) sat just one above Roybal’s 12 (8-4), the duo’s eight goals apiece were a tournament-high.
In the semifinals, the U.S. met Italy, where Roybal added four points (2-2) and Farmer collected a pair (1-1) as five other players also scored to lead Team USA past Italy, 10-1. The win secured Team USA’s third-straight Paralympic gold-medal game berth and its first against rival Canada.
In the gold-medal contest, Canada opened the scoring midway through the first period. Despite Team USA outshooting Canada, 8-3, in the second period, the score remained unchanged as the two teams entered the final frame with score, 1-0, in favor of Canada. As the third period unfolded, the U.S. continued to press for the game’s tying goal before electing to pull goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) in favor of an extra attacker for the final minute of play. With just over 40 seconds to play, Canada saw its attempt on the empty net ring off the post before the U.S. countered and Farmer buried a loose puck in front of the goal to even the score with 37.4 seconds to play. The teams then entered a 15-minute, four-on-four sudden death overtime period, where Farmer scored his second goal of the game 3:30 into the frame to give Team USA the 2-1, overtime gold-medal win.
Declan Farmer finished as the tournament’s leading goal scorer with 11 goals while his 17 points also led all skaters. With 11 goals, Farmer now shares the U.S. and Paralympic record for most goals scored in a single Paralympic Winter Games, which was set by Sylvester Flis in 2002. In addition, his 14 Paralympic career goals is also a U.S. Paralympic record. Additionally, goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) has established a Paralympic record for gold-medal wins with a perfect 3-0 record from wins in 2010, 2014 and 2018. In 14 Paralympic career starts, Cash has registered a U.S. and Paralympic record 13 wins behind a 0.23 goals-against-average, .973 save percentage and 10 shutouts.
Behind Farmer’s U.S.-best 17 points and 11 goals was Brody Roybal, who equaled Farmer’s 17 points with 10 goals and seven assists. Pacing all U.S. skaters in the assist column was captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) who tallied eight in the team’s five games. In net, Cash led the U.S. with a 0.29 goals-against-average, .968 save percentage, two shutouts and four wins.
Voted ahead of the gold-medal game, the United States saw Brody Roybal honored as Best Forward and Tournament MVP. The Northlake, Illinois, forward entered the gold-medal game with a then-tournament best 10 goals and 16 points before adding an assist on the game-tying goal to help the U.S. capture the gold medal.
|Sun., March 11||Japan
|W, 10-0||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Mon., March 12||Czech Republic
|W, 10-0||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Tues., March 13||Korea
|W, 8-0||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Thurs., March 15||Italy
|W, 10-1||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Sun., March 18||Canada
|W, 2-1 (OT)||Gangneung Hockey Centre|