INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. – The U.S. National Sled Team beat Korea, 3-0, during the inaugural USA Hockey Sled Cup here tonight at the Extreme Ice Center. Team USA finished round-robin play 3-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) to advance to the championship game on Saturday (Jan. 26). The title game will be a rematch between Team USA and Team Korea, which suffered its only loss of the tournament tonight.
"We played with excellent speed throughout tonight's win," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Team. "I was pleased once again with our team defense and I liked that all of our forward lines contributed offensively. We will have to be ready for a determined Korea team in tomorrow night's championship game."
Team USA seized a 1-0 lead on the second shift of the game as Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) raced down the left wing and around the defense before sliding the puck into the far side of the net. Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) notched his tournament-leading fourth assist on the goal. The U.S. advantage doubled to 2-0 at 13:06 on a tally by Paul Schaus (Buffalo, N.Y.). Joshua Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.) corralled the puck at the right half-boards and fired it into the slot, where Schaus deflected it under the sprawling goaltender.
Alex Salamone (Buffalo, N.Y.) stretched Team USA's lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal at 2:58 of the third period. Salamone scooped up a loose puck at the outer hashmarks of the right circle and weaved his way to the low slot to snap a right-hand shot high into the net.
Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) stopped all six shots he faced through the first two periods. Jen Yung Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) made two saves in the third period. The Korean netminders combined for 14 saves.
In afternoon action, the U.S. National Developmental Team lost to Russia, 5-1.
The USA Hockey Sled Cup concludes tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 26) with the championship game between the U.S. and Korea at 7:10 p.m. The third-place game will feature the U.S. National Developmental Team vs. Russia at 4:30 p.m.
FASTHockey is providing live streaming coverage for all tournament games. Those interested in watching should sign up for a free account in advance at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com