U.S. National Sled Hockey Team topples Japan 8-0

By Brian Smith | Dec. 04, 2012, 1:30 a.m. (ET)
Josh Pauls
In a rematch of the gold medal game at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Josh Pauls scored two goals to help Team USA defeat Japan at the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

CALGARY, Alberta – Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.Y.) and Kevin McKee (Davenport, Iowa) scored two goals each and 10 different U.S. players registered points as the U.S. National Sled Team toppled Japan, 8-0, in its second game at the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge here tonight at the WinSport Canada Ice Complex. With the win, Team USA improves to 2-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in the tournament and remains at the top of the standings.

"We've got good balance between all three lines, which is very important," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Team. "The key for us is to get our forwards moving the puck and taking quicker shots and I thought tonight we did that."

Pauls started the scoring for Team USA less than seven minutes into the game. Taking a cross-ice feed from Alexi Salamone (Buffalo, N.Y.), Pauls fired the puck past Japanese goaltender Mitsuru Nagase. McKee added to the U.S. score at the 8:20 mark. Salamone wrapped around the net and passed to McKee for the tally. Less than a minute later, Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) made it a 3-0 game when he scored on a shot from the point.

The U.S. continued to put pressure on Japan in the second stanza. Rico Roman (San Antonio, Texas) extended the lead to four at the 5:57 mark. After getting a pass from Joshua Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.), Roman walked down from the point and deposited the puck into the net. Pauls notched his second goal of the contest at 10:33. After McKee battled for control of the puck in the corner, he sent it to Pauls at the top of the right faceoff circle before he sent it over the shoulder of Mitsuru.

In the final frame, McKee added his second goal and third point of the night. At 4:53, U.S. captain Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.) slid the puck to McKee who shot it into the top left corner of the net. Greg Shaw (Merrit Island, Fla.) and Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) added two goals late in the game to seal the victory.

Team USA goaltender Jen Yung Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) made four saves to earn the shutout in his first start of the tournament, while Mitsuru had a 20-stop effort for Japan.

The U.S. will return to action at the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge Wednesday (Dec. 5), against Canada at 9:00 p.m. EST. A full Team USA schedule is below.

For complete World Sledge Hockey Challenge coverage, click here.

FASTHockey will provide live streaming coverage for all tournament games. Those interested in watching should sign up for a free account in advance at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.