U.S. National Sled Team edges Russia, 2-1, to advance to gold medal game

By Matt Trevor | April 18, 2013, 6 a.m. (ET)
Josh Pauls
Josh Pauls helped Team USA advance to the gold medal game of the International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Goyang, Korea.

GOYANG, South Korea – The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Russia, 2-1, today in the semifinals of the 2013 International Paralympic Committee World Championship at Goyang SPART Complex. Team USA will play Canada or the Czech Republic in the gold medal game on Saturday.

"The important thing is that we won the game," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "It wasn't a pretty win. We had to work for it. We had a lot of good opportunities offensively to score goals, but we didn't put them away. Give credit to the Russians. They played very strong."

Alexi Salamone (Buffalo, N.Y.) made it 1-0 at 5:17 of the first period on a rebound chance. Kevin McKee's (Davenport, Iowa) shot from the right circle was blocked, but the puck eventually deflected to Salamone and he promptly slid it inside the right post.

Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.) scored his team-best fifth goal of the tournament with 2:03 remaining in the second stanza. Chace rushed the puck up the left wing, fought off a check en route to the net and flipped a shot just over the goalie. Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) had the lone assist.

At 4:06 of the third period, Russia scored the first goal of the tournament against Team USA, trimming the U.S. lead to 2-1. Vasilii Varkov notched the power-play goal from the left faceoff dot.

Russia continued its push during the game's final minutes, but the Team USA defense blocked several shots and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) denied the rest to secure the 2-1 win. Cash made seven saves in all.

Team USA's opponent is Canada. The gold medal game will begin at 3:30 a.m. EDT (4:30 p.m. Korea Time).

All games are being streamed live on sledworlds.usahockey.com.