Sled hockey advances to gold medal game with 3-0 defeat of Norway
VANCOUVER, B.C. - The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team earned its fourth consecutive shutout victory tonight, 3-0, over Norway in the semifinals of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Team USA will face Japan Saturday (March 20) at 12 p.m. PDT in the gold-medal game.
Team USA will look to become the first-ever team to claim its second Paralympic Winter Games sled hockey tournament gold medal. The U.S. also won gold at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Other gold medal winners include Sweden (1994), Norway (1998), and Canada (2006).
"We came out a little nervous tonight, but fought through it," said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "Our guys got better as the game went on, and we've put ourselves exactly where we wanted to be: the gold-medal game."
Team USA broke a scoreless tie nine minutes into the second period. A persistent forecheck by Josh Pauls (South Plainfield, N.J.) led to a turnover inside Norway's blue line. Greg Shaw (Park City, Utah) picked up the loose puck and drove to the net, maneuvering around Norway goalie Roger Johansen and slipping a shot into the open side.
The U.S. extended its lead to 2-0 less than two minutes later on the power play. Following an offensive-zone faceoff win, Team USA cycled the puck until Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.) escaped in the near corner. He fed defenseman Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.) at the left dot, where he skated to the slot and fired a shot off of a Norway defender and over Johansen's glove for his third goal of the tournament.
Joe Howard (Kinston, Mass.) put the game out of reach with three minutes remaining in the third period. After taking a centering pass from Salamone, Howard snapped a quick shot past Johansen's glove, giving the U.S. the three-goal advantage it would hold until the final horn.
Team USA goalie Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) stopped 12 shots in the shutout victory. In 165 minutes of action so far, he has yet to allow a goal on 28 shots faced.
NOTES: The U.S. defeated Japan last Tuesday (March 16), 6-0, in a preliminary-round tilt ... Team USA went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Norway was 0-for-2 with the man advantage ... In earlier action, Japan beat Canada, 3-1, to advance to its first-ever Paralympic Winter Games gold-medal game ... Several members of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team sent e-mails of support to the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, including Chris Drury, Jamie Langenbrunner, head coach Ron Wilson and general manager Brian Burke ... 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 ... 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
|NOR||0 -||0 -||0 -||0|
|USA||0 -||2 -||1 -||3|
First Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: NOR, L.R. Johansen (holding), 3:22; USA, Salamone (roughing), 14:49.
Second Period - Scoring: 1, USA, Shaw (Pauls), 8:48; 2, USA, Chace (Salamone), 10:35 (pp). Penalties: NOR, Hagen (delaying-the-game), 10:15.
Third Period - Scoring: 3, USA, Howard (Salamone, Landeros), 11:59. Penalties: NOR, Team (delaying-the-game), 0:40; NOR, Hagen (delaying-the-game), 2:21; USA, Howard (holding), 6:44.
Shots by Period
|NOR, Johansen 45:00||
|USA, Cash 45:00||5-5||3-3||4-4||12-12|
Power Play: NOR 0-2; USA 1-4
Penalties: NOR 4-8; USA 2-4
Officials: Paul Boese (referee); Eric Dagenais (linesman), Tomasz Heltman (linesman)
Team USA 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Schedule
March 13-20 - Vancouver, B.C.
|Sat., March 13||South Korea||W, 5-0|
|Sun., March 14||Czech Republic||W, 3-0|
|Tues., March 16||Japan||W, 6-0||ParalmpicSport.tv|
|Thurs., March 18||Norway (Semifinals)||W, 3-0|
|Sat., March 20||Japan (Gold-Medal Game)||12 p.m.||ParalmpicSport.tv|