U.S. blanks Korea in sled hockey opener
VANCOUVER, B.C. - The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team blanked South Korea, 5-0, this afternoon in its opening tilt of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.) and Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas) each notched a pair of goals, while Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) collected his first career Paralympic shutout.
"This was a good opening game for us," said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "We got our Paralympic jitters out of the way early and came away with a solid victory that we can build on."
Team USA grabbed a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the first period. Greg Shaw (Park City, Utah) rushed into the offensive zone where he and Nikko Landeros (Berthoud, Colo.) got tangled up with a pair of South Korean defenders. The puck squirted to the high slot, where Chace fired a shot that bounced off goalie Hyuk-Jun Choi's right shoulder and into the net.
The U.S. extended its lead to 3-0 in the second period with a pair of power-play markers. Five minutes into the frame, Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.) won an offensive-zone faceoff and located Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.) darting towards the slot. Salamone received the pass and fired a shot high off the crossbar and into the net. Then, in the period's final minute, Lipsett banged a post-to-post pass from Salamone off of Choi's glove and over the goal line.
Lipsett buried his second goal of the night midway through the third period. A South Korean turnover rolled right to Lipsett at the near post, where he jammed the loose puck under Choi. Chace concluded the night's scoring in the game's final minute when he pinched in from his defensive position, stickhandled through the slot and beat Choi low to the blocker side.
Cash turned aside five shots for a shutout in his first Paralympic Winter Games start of his career. He was a member of the 2006 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team that won bronze in Torino, Italy, but did not play.
Team USA (1-0-0-0) will next face off against the Czech Republic in both teams' second preliminary-round tilt tomorrow (March 14) at 5 p.m. PDT.
NOTES: Team USA went 2-for-5 on the power play, while South Korea was 0-for-6 with the man advantage ... In earlier action, Canada defeated Italy, 4-0, while Norway edged Sweden, 2-1, in a shootout. Japan and the Czech Republic will face off later tonight ... The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team captured the bronze medal at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, and earned gold at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah ... No team has won gold more than once in the four Paralympic Winter Games of which sled hockey has been a part (Sweden-1994; Norway-1998; United States-2002; Canada-2006) ... Full coverage of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, including a team roster, photos, features, and game notes 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
First Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Chace (Landeros, Shaw), 3:45. Penalties: USA, Jones (interference), 0:07; KOR, Jang (delaying-the-game), 5:35; USA, Salamone (charging), 11:01.
Second Period - Scoring: 2, USA, Salamone (Howard), 4:45 (pp); 3, USA, Lipsett (Salamone, Yohe), 14:34 (pp). Penalties: USA, Chace (teeing), 2:36; KOR, Han (interference), 4:10; KOR, B. Cho (roughing), 10:13; KOR, S. Park (holding), 14:00.
Third Period - Scoring: 4, USA, Lipsett (unassisted), 8:32; 5, USA, Chace (unassisted), 14:22. Penalties: USA, Team (too-many men), 1:26; USA, Team (too-many men), 3:48; USA, Landeros (holding), 12:38; KOR, Y. Lee (roughing), 13:38.
|Shots by Period||1||2||3||Total
|KOR, Choi 45:00
|USA, Cash 45:00
Power Play: KOR 0-6; USA 2-5
Penalties: KOR 5-10; USA 6-12
Referees: Paul Boese (referee); Steven Richardson (linesman), Maksim Toode (linesman).
Team USA 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Schedule
March 13-20 - Vancouver, B.C.