Taylor Chace named IPC Athlete of the Month for December 2012
After scoring the winning goal in the gold-medal game of the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, American Taylor Chace was voted by the public as the International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month for December.
The 26-year-old defenseman, who recorded the lone goal in Team USA's 1-0 win over Canada in the championship game of the tournament on Dec. 8 in Calgary, received 53-percent of the public's vote.
With the game scoreless late into the second period, Chace's shot along the ice from the point snuck past Canadian netminder Benoit St-Amand to give the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team their second title in the event.
"One goal, that's what made the difference," Chace told USA Hockey following the championship game of the tournament. "I just waited for that gap and I converted and just went in.
"We were only up by a goal, and that could have changed at any second. Any mistake that we made could have been capitalized on. We came out on top in this game, but it's always a battle. Our goal was to make it into this final game - that's always our goal at this tournament - and we just wanted to give ourselves a chance to win it."
The only other time Team USA won gold at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge came in 2009 in Charlottetown, when Chace scored the overtime winner in a 3-2 gold-medal game victory over the Canadians.
Chace was followed in the Athlete of the Month voting by American sit-skier Tyler Walker, who finished with 26 percent of the vote. Russian alpine skier Alexey Bugaev, German alpine skier Anna Schaffelhuber and Hungarian wheelchair fencer Zsuzsanna Krajnyak were also up for the honour.
Identified as one of the IPC's Ones to Watch athletes for the 2012-13 winter season, Chace will now look to build upon the victory in Calgary to help USA go for their third straight title at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey A Pool World Championships from April 12-20, in Goyang, Korea.
But before that, Chace will compete in the USA Sled Hockey Cup from Jan. 23-26 in Charlotte, N.C.