U.S. sled hockey advances to gold medal game
Declan Farmer, who scored two goals against Canada in the semifinal, celebrates with Josh Pauls, who added another in the 3-0 win.
SOCHI, Russia – Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored twice and had an assist, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) collected a goal and an assist, and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made 11 saves to help the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team knock off Canada, 3-0, in the semifinals of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena.
Team USA will play Russia in the gold-medal game of the Paralympic Winter Games on Saturday (March 15) at noon ET with TeamUSA.org streaming the game live. NBC will air the game in its entirety live.
"I have a lot of confidence in my forwards and my team," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "The fact that if they play the way they can, and if they move the way they can, it's very difficult to stay with us, and I thought we showed that tonight."
A pair of goals by Farmer in the final six minutes of the opening frame helped the United States build a 2-0 advantage. Farmer's first marker came off a quick rush by Team USA. Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) chipped a puck up the wall in the defensive zone to Pauls, who floated the puck to Farmer streaking through center. Farmer moved his way into the Canadian end, cut across the slot and fired a shot through Team Canada goaltender Corbin Watson's arm and body at 9:12. Then, at 14:04, Farmer picked up the puck along the left wall, turned and wired a quick shot through traffic, off the crossbar and in to double the American lead.
The U.S. killed a pair of early Canadian power plays in the second period before Pauls buried a shot at 4:55 to put Team USA up by three. Farmer won a race to a loose puck in the offensive corner, gathered it and swooped around the net. Once he got to the other side of the cage, he made a perfect pass to Pauls in the slot, and Pauls unleashed a left-handed, one-timer that slid under Watson's arm.
Cash held the Canadians off the board by stopping several quality scoring chances. Ten of his 11 saves came in the first 30 minutes of action, as the U.S. defense held Canada to a single shot in the final stanza.
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team (3-0-0-1, W-OTW-OTL-L) will be playing for its second straight Paralympic gold medal on Saturday vs. Russia. No team has won back-to-back gold medals in Paralympic sled hockey.