SOCHI, Russia - If history teaches anything, put your money on sledge hockey goaltender Steve Cash to provide a safe pair of hands at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
At Vancouver 2010, Cash became the first goaltender to go through a Paralympic Winter Games without allowing a goal. The 24-year-old, whose nickname is 'Money', is not feeling any pressure to match that accomplishment four years on.
"It's not really on my mind. Whether it is a game or practice, if there are 10 pucks I always focus on stopping 10 of them," he said.
Cash, whose shutout performance in each of Team USA's five games in 2010 set an individual Paralympic record, insists, however, on giving his teammates credit for the Vancouver jackpot.
"When you think about it I had less than 40 shots against me in five games and that's an incredible feat on its own," he said.
Cash is from St Louis where three members of the NHL's St Louis Blues, David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk, are supporting his club team, the DASA Blues.
"It's phenomenal. They have really jumped onboard for sled hockey and become incredible ambassadors for the sport," Cash said.
"When you get professionals like that, who buy into what you're doing and believe in your journey, it makes it much more special."
Last year, Cash and teammates from the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team were invited to Backes' home where they met Oshie and Shattenkirk, and shared their passion for hockey.
"They are down-to-earth guys just like anybody else and that was something I'll remember for the rest of my life," Cash said. "At the same time I know that they appreciated us coming in and hanging out with them."
Thanks to the involvement of NHL players in sled hockey across the country, the number of club teams has tripled from four to 12 since 2011, said Cash.
"Anytime you get professional athletes who buy into disabled or deaf sports, it always helps it grow," he said.