Team USA defeated Canada 4-1 Saturday evening to claim the gold medal in the inaugural IPC Sled Hockey Pan Pacific Championships, held at the Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York.
It was a repeat of last year, when the United States won the 2015 world championship gold over Canada in the same arena, and avenged a 2-1 loss to Canada in preliminary play earlier in the week.
The first period saw the United States with the lion’s share of chances, holding a 5-2 advantage in shots, but Canada’s two tries both required sterling work by three-time Paralympian Steve Cash in the U.S. goal to maintain a clean sheet.
The intensity continued to build in the second period with a number of solid checks by both sides. Declan Farmer broke the deadlock with 9:03 left in the second when his third chance in front of Canadian goalkeeper Corbin Watson finally found its way into the net. Chris Douglas made it 2-0 for the Americans when he collected the puck off a faceoff and scored his first goal for the U.S. national team with 6:22 showing. Four minutes later Brody Roybal snared a careless Canadian pass and dropped it to an oncoming Farmer, who buried it for a 3-0 advantage with 2:46 left.
Canada sullied Cash’s clean sheet with 3:39 remaining when Tyler McGregor scored a glove-side goal for a 3-1 score, but it was countered at 1:27 when Kevin McKee sent the puck into the empty Canadian net to close out the scoring.
Farmer’s two goals gave him six for the tournament, earning him selection to the all-tournament team. A member of the gold-medal teams at the 2015 world championships and the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Farmer now has 13 goals this season, setting the U.S. national team single-season record.
Defenseman Josh Pauls also was named to the all-tournament team. The two-time Paralympic gold medalist was credited with a goal and five assists in the tournament. The American side scored 21 goals in the tournament while giving up only 3.