GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) scored three goals and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) added a pair as the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team beat Italy, 10-1, in the semifinals of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. With the win, the United States (4-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) advances to the gold medal game on Sunday (March 18), where it will face Canada.
“Our focus was to not look past this game and we didn’t,” said Guy Gosselin, head coach of the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. “We brought a lot of energy and moved the puck well again. We’ll enjoy this win tonight and get back on the ice tomorrow as we get ready for Canada and the ultimate goal of a gold medal on Sunday.”
Puck drop for Sunday’s game at Gangneung Hockey Center is slated for 12 p.m. local time, making it an 11 p.m. ET puck drop on March 17 back in the United States. The contest will be televised live on NBCSN and also streamed live on NBCOlympics.com. The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is seeking its third-straight Paralympic gold medal after winning gold at both the 2010 and 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. In five Paralympic Winter Games, the United States has won three gold medals (2002, 2010, 2014) and one bronze medal (2006).
The U.S. opened the scoring with three goals in a 46-second span less than five minutes into the game. Noah Grove (Frederick, Md.) started the scoring at the 3:23 mark by tapping a rebound off an initial shot by Landeros.
Just 45 seconds later, Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) doubled Team USA’s advantage when captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) absorbed a check that saw the puck fall on Misiewicz’s stick for a shot he tucked into the bottom left corner. Roybal claimed the third goal 11 seconds after with a long-range shot that trickled in over the goal line.
With 1:10 left in the opening frame, Landeros scored an unassisted power play goal to make it 4-0 for Team USA. Luke McDermott (Westerlo, N.Y.) then netted his second of the tournament in the closing seconds of the frame to give the U.S. a 5-0 lead into the first intermission.
Both teams made changes in goal to start the middle frame, as Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) took over for Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) and Santino Stillitano relieved Gabriele Araudo.
After a breakaway chance from Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) was turned aside, Roybal made it 6-0 with Team USA’s second power play goal of the game 7:52 into the middle stanza. Misiewicz started the play with a pair of chances at the right post before the puck bounced to Roybal who was able to skate around the net and rip a shot into the top left corner for his second of the game.
Less than a minute later, Landeros added his second of the game when he carried the puck across the blue line and beat Stillitano with a high-rising shot.
With 2:16 remaining in the second period, Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) converted off a passing play from Page and Pauls as the U.S. entered the second intermission up, 8-0.
In the final stanza, Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) scored 3:32 into the frame before Valerio Corvino scored at the 8:30 mark. With 2:57 remaining, Landeros netted his third goal of the game to account for the 10-1 final.
NOTES: The U.S. outshot Italy, 33-4, went 3-for-7 on the power play and finished 1-for-8 on the penalty kill. For complete game statistics, click here Sunday’s gold-medal game will mark the first time the United States and Canada meet in the gold-medal game in a Paralympic Winter Games … With 10 goals thus far, Brody Roybal is one goal shy of tying the U.S. and Paralympic record for most goals in a single Paralympic Winter Games, which was set by Sylvester Flis in 2002 ... Declan Farmer (1 goal tonight) and Brody Roybal (2 goals tonight) now share the U.S. record for most goals by a U.S. player in Paralympic history with 12 tallies in nine games each ... Deloitte, Labatt USA and Toyota are proud sponsors of the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team … The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team was announced on Jan. 1, 2018, and its full 17-player roster can be seen here … Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team … Guy Gosselin (Grafton, Wis.), a two-time U.S. Olympian (1988, 1992) and USA Hockey’s regional manager of the American Development Model, is head coach of Team USA … USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for the U.S. Paralympic team.