Team USA drops Japan

Jan. 21, 2010, 1:25 p.m. (ET)

NAGANO CITY, Japan - The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team scored three times in the third period to defeat Japan, 3-1, in its final preliminary-round contest of the 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships.

Team USA, which finished the preliminary round with a 2-0-0-1 record, will face Norway in the semifinals Saturday (Jan. 23) at 6:30 p.m. JST.

"We've continued to improve throughout this tournament, which was our goal," said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "Now that we've entered the semifinal round, we need to be at the top of our game in order to reach the championship."

Team USA carried much of the play in the opening period, outshooting Japan, 12-4. Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas) nearly gave the U.S. the lead midway through the second period, but hit the right post from the slot.

Adam Page
(Lancaster, N.Y.) broke the scoreless tie two minutes into the final frame with his second goal of the tournament. Then, less than two minutes later, Tim Jones (Mt. Ephraim, N.J.) collected a centering feed from Brad Emmerson (Amherst, N.Y.) and fired a shot under the crossbar for Team USA's first two-goal lead of the tournament.

Following a Japan power-play goal, Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.) put the game away with a power-play marker of his own. Team USA goalie Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made 11 saves in the win, while Japan's Makoto Majima and Shinobu Fukushima combined to stop 21 shots in a losing effort.

: Adam Page was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... The U.S. finished the preliminary round as the tournament's third seed. Both Norway (second seed) and the Czech Republic (first seed) finished with identical 2-0-0-1 records, but were ranked higher based on goal differential between the three tied teams ... The Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships is the second International Paralympic Committee sanctioned event of the 2009-10 season, and marks Team USA's final tune-up before the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Team USA captured the 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I., last November ... Full coverage of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, including a team roster, photos, features, and stats are available at ... The 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, consisting of 15 of the 18 members of the 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, was named in December. Team USA will participate in the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., March 13-20.


Scoring By Period

USA 0 0 3 3
JPN 0 0 1 1

First Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: JPN, Endo (holding), 6:21.

Second Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Page (t-boning), 0:46; JPN, Sudo (interference), 4:46; JPN, Maruo (t-boning), 12:33.

Third Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Page (unassisted), 1:51; 2, USA, Jones (Emmerson, Connelly), 3:49; 3, JPN, Daisuke (Sudo, Yoshikawa), 7:57 (pp); 4, USA, Howard (Chace), 11:00 (pp). Penalties: USA, Howard (elbowing), 7:03; JPN, Ishida (holding), 9:20.

Shots by Period123Total
USA 12 6 6 24
JPN 4 3 5 12
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Cash 45:00 4-4 3-3 5-4 12-11
JPN, Fukushima 23:55 12-12 4-4 -- 16-16
JPN, Majima 21:05 -- 2-2 6-3 8-5

Power Play: USA 1-4; JPN 1-2
Penalties: USA 2-4; JPN 4-8