SOCHI, Russia – Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) scored twice and had an assist, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) collected a goal and an assist, and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made 11 saves to help the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team knock off Canada, 3-0, in the semifinals of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena.
Team USA will play Russia in the gold-medal game of the Paralympics Saturday (March 15) at noon ET.
A pair of goals by Farmer in the final six minutes of the opening frame helped the United States build a 2-0 advantage. Farmer’s first marker came off a quick rush by Team USA. Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) chipped a puck up the wall in the defensive zone to Pauls, who floated the puck to Farmer streaking through center. Farmer moved his way into the Canadian end, cut across the slot and fired a shot through Team Canada goaltender Corbin Watson’s arm and body at 9:12. Then, at 14:04, Farmer picked up the puck along the left wall, turned and wired a quick shot through traffic, off the crossbar and in to double the American lead.
The U.S. killed a pair of early Canadian power plays in the second period before Pauls buried a shot at 4:55 to put Team USA up by three. Farmer won a race to a loose puck in the offensive corner, gathered it and swooped around the net. Once he got to the other side of the cage, he made a perfect pass to Pauls in the slot, and Pauls unleashed a left-handed, one-timer that slid under Watson’s arm.
Cash held the Canadians off the board by stopping several quality scoring chances. Ten of his 11 saves came in the first 30 minutes of action, as the U.S. defense held Canada to a single shot in the final stanza.
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team (3-0-0-1) will be playing for its second straight Paralympic gold medal on Saturday vs. Russia. No team has won back-to-back gold medals in Paralympic sled hockey.
Aug. 25, 2016 | Body-checking is a skill, not unlike skating, shooting and stickhandling, and it’s a critical skill to teach. Rhode Island Hockey recently gave it special emphasis with a free on-ice checking clinic open to all players in the 12U, 14U and 16U age classifications. Hosted at Schneider Arena with help from Providence College men’s hockey head coach Nate Leaman and Roger Grillo from USA Hockey, the two-hour clinic welcomed more than 100 players for station-based instruction in the fine art of giving and receiving a body check properly.
“Body contact is sometimes an under-taught skill, but there’s so much value in teaching it, both in terms of helping young players become more successful and also in terms of injury prevention,” said Grillo. “It was great to team up with the Rhode Island coaches and offer a learning opportunity that’ll pay dividends for these kids throughout their hockey careers.”
The event was so successful that Rhode Island Hockey will host a second session Sept. 8 at Boss Ice Arena on the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston. Led by Kevin Sullivan, Rhode Island Hockey’s American Development Model director, the clinic will likely become an annual offering to enhance players’ skill and contact confidence, especially for 13-year-olds progressing into their first season of 14U hockey.
“The initial idea came from a parent asking if we offer any checking-specific training for players transitioning from 12U to 14U,” said Bob Larence, president of Rhode Island Hockey.
There’s a component of body-contact training that happens at every level, from cross-ice 8U to small-area battle drills for older players, but the idea of a body checking-specific teaching event for tweens and teens seemed a beneficial complement to that team-level training, so Rhody ran with it.
“We all thought it was a great idea, and ultimately, it became a great collaboration with Rhode Island Hockey, USA Hockey and the local colleges – Providence, URI and Brown,” said Larence.