U.S. National Sled Hockey Team tops Czech Republic to win Group A
GOYANG, South Korea – The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated the Czech Republic, 3-0, today at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship to capture first place in Group A with a record of 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L). Team USA will play Russia in the semifinal round on Thursday.
Kevin McKee (Davenport, Iowa) staked Team USA to a 1-0 lead at 5:43 of the first frame. Alexi Salamone (Buffalo, N.Y.) assisted by threading a pass from the right circle into the low slot. McKee received the puck in-stride and slid it around the outstretched goaltender.
At 4:22 of the second period, Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.) made it 2-0 amidst a swarm of players near the crease. Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) and Paul Schaus (Buffalo, N.Y.) dug the puck loose following a shot from the point and Sweeney tapped it home near the right post.
Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) stretched the lead to 3-0 late in the second period on a great individual effort. As a Czech player tried to hit him, Farmer stopped hard at the hash marks to let the defender slide by and then rifled a right-hand shot under the crossbar. Greg Shaw (Merritt Island, Fla.) assisted on the tally.
Goalies Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) and Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) shared a shutout for the third straight game. Cash started and made seven stops in 37:31. Lee stopped three shots in 7:29. The Czech Republic's Michal Vapenka had 11 saves.
With the win, the U.S. has qualified to compete at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. The top-five countries from the world championships automatically receiving a qualification slot.
Team USA will take on Russia in the semifinals on Thursday at 2 a.m. ET (3 p.m. Korea Time). The other semifinal will feature Canada vs. Czech Republic.
All games are being streamed live on sledworlds.usahockey.com.