U.S. Sled Team wins in Japan

Jan. 25, 2010, 2:31 p.m. (ET)

NAGANO CITY, Japan - The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team captured first place at the 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships, defeating Japan, 3-0, in the title game. Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.) scored a goal and added two assists, while Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) turned aside eight shots in the shutout effort.

The 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships marked Team USA's final tune-up before the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., March 13-20. The U.S. finished the tournament with a 3-1-0-1 overall record.

"Our goal at every tournament is to come away with the championship, but this one is particularly important with the Paralympics right around the corner," said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "We feel like we're playing some of our best hockey right now, and we hope to carry that over into Vancouver."

Team USA generated several scoring opportunities in the first period, hitting the crossbar three times and the right post once. Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead 11 minutes into the contest, firing a shot from the right circle that trickled under Japan goalie Mitsuru Nagase for a power-play goal.

Less than one minute into the second period, Salamone gave Team USA a 2-0 lead with a low shot past the blocker of Nagase. The U.S. extended its lead to 3-0 with its second power-play goal 10 minutes later when a centering pass from Salamone deflected off of Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas) and into the net.

Team USA's defense preserved the victory, allowing only three third-period shots en route to the shutout win.

NOTES: Alexi Salamone was named Team USA's Player of the Game ... The Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships is the second International Paralympic Committee sanctioned event of the 2009-10 season. Team USA also captured first place at 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 usahockey.com ... 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.

Scoring By Period

JPN 0 0 0 0
USA 1 2 0 3

First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Chace (Lipsett, Salamone), 11:03 (pp). Penalties: USA, Page (holding), 6:09; JPN, 55 (hooking), 10:20; JPN, 13 (teeing), 12:38.

Second Period - Scoring: 2, USA, Salamone (Torres, Howard), 0:44; 3, USA, Lipsett (Salamone), 10:39 (pp). Penalties: USA, Landeros (charging), 1:10; JPN, 33 (delay-of-game), 8:55.

Third Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Shaw (holding), 13:59.

Shots by Period123Total
JPN 2 3 3 8
USA 7 9 6 22
Goaltenders (SH/SV) 1 2 3 Total
JPN, Nagase 45:00 7-6 9-7 6-6 22-19
USA, Cash 45:00 2-2 3-3 3-3 8-8

Power Play: JPN 0-3; USA 2-3
Penalties: JPN 3-6; USA 3-6