SOCHI, Russia -- Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) had a pair of goals, Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) collected a single tally and added an assist and defenseman Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) notched three assists to help the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team begin the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games with a 5-1 victory over Italy today at Shayba Arena.
Late in a tightly contested opening stanza -- one that saw both teams generate chances early -- Team USA was able to break through for the game's first goal. While on the power play, Farmer gathered the puck on the left side of the slot and beat Italian goaltender Santino Stillitano with a quick shot at 13:45 to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
Neither team found the back of the net again until 11:12 of the second period when Roybal grabbed a rebound and tucked it into the top corner for a 2-0 lead.
Seconds after a tough stick save by Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.), Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.) capitalized on a turnover in Italy's zone 3:04 into the third period. Sweeney had a semi-breakaway from the right side and reached around the goalie to push the puck inside the left post.
In the final five minutes, an Italian goal was sandwiched between a pair of U.S. markers. Roybal buried his second of the game after Team USA exited its own end with speed and made a nice passing play on the rush. Then, with just five seconds left in the contest, Paul Schaus (Buffalo, N.Y.) batted home a rebound to close the scoring.
Cash stopped all nine shots he faced in 40:18 of action. Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) made two saves on three shots.
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will play its next preliminary-round game tomorrow (March 9) when it squares off against South Korea at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Notes: Brody Roybal and Declan Farmer became the first- and second-youngest Americans to score a goal at the Paralympic Games. Roybal is 15 years old and Farmer is 16 years old ... Goaltender Steve Cash has yet to allow a Paralympic goal against in his career. His shutout streak spans three Paralympic Games and 256:20 of game action.