Josh Sweeney, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, scored the winning goal in Team USA's 1-0 win over Russia.
SOCHI, Russia — U.S. Marine Corps veteran Josh Sweeney (Glendale, Ariz.) scored the game-winning goal in the second period, allowing the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team to skate past Russia, 1-0, in the gold-medal game at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
With the victory, Team USA becomes the first team to win back-to-back gold medals in the Paralympic Winter Games in sled hockey. The gold medal is the third for the U.S. since 2002.
"We have worked hard all year and this is a great group of guys," said Andy Yohe, a three-time Paralympian who captained the 2010 and 2014 teams. "We're pretty excited and so we should be."
The Americans struck for the contest’s only marker at 9:28 of the middle frame when Sweeney converted after forcing a turnover in the offensive zone. Following a collision by two Russian players, Sweeney picked up the loose puck just inside the blue line and streaked in on Russian goaltender Vladimir Kamantcev. Sweeney deked to his left before sliding the puck back to his right and placing a shot over Kamantcev’s glove and under the crossbar.
"I saw the defender, he had the puck and I just went after him," Sweeney said. "I did a little fake because that's what you want to do when you're up against a goalie that good. It wasn't anything that my other teammates couldn't have done."
Team USA played a strong defensive game throughout, limiting Russia to just six shots on goal while killing both Russian power-play opportunities. Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) came up with a pair of quality saves on dangerous Russian chances in the final stanza to hold Russia off the board.