INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. - Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) scored a second-period goal and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) turned away 14 shots in net, but the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team fell to Canada, 4-1, in the first game of a three-game series at the Extreme Ice Center.
"We definitely looked like a team that hadn't played together for a while, but all of our mistakes are very fixable," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "We will have a good practice tomorrow morning with all of our players and look to perform better throughout tomorrow's game."
Team Canada built a 3-0 lead by the 13:15 mark of the opening period after goals by Greg Westlake, Brad Bowden and Kevin Rempel.
The U.S. got on the board 5:04 into the second frame when Landeros scored a highlight reel goal on the power play. After Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) won a battle in the corner, he pushed the puck to Landeros at the goal line. Landeros moved behind the net, flipped the puck onto his stick and tucked it the top corner above Team Canada goaltender Corbin Watson.
The Canadians responded quickly, though, and tallied a power-play marker of their own just 30 seconds later when Rempel redirected an Adam Dixon shot past Cash.
Team USA finished with a 16-14 edge in shots on goal, but key saves by Watson kept the U.S. from closing the gap on the scoreboard.
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will be back in action Friday (Jan. 10) in game two of the three-game series against Canada. Puck-drop is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.