SOCHI, Russia – Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.) scored the game-winning goal in the second period, allowing the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team to skate past Russia, 1-0, in the gold-medal game at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
With the victory, Team USA becomes the first team to win back-to-back gold medals in the Paralympics. The gold medal is the third for the U.S. since 2002.
"I've coached guys in the National Hockey League and guys that have won national championships, but the chemistry on this team with a 15-year-old and a 35-year old player is better than any team I've ever coached," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "There's a bond there and I love them like sons."
The Americans struck for the contest’s only marker at 9:28 of the middle frame when Sweeney converted after forcing a turnover in the offensive zone. Following a collision by two Russian players, Sweeney picked up the loose puck just inside the blue line and streaked in on Russian goaltender Vladimir Kamantcev. Sweeney deked to his left before sliding the puck back to his right and placing a shot over Kamantcev’s glove and under the crossbar.
Team USA played a strong defensive game throughout, limiting Russia to just six shots on goal while killing both Russian power-play opportunities. Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) came up with a pair of quality saves on dangerous Russian chances in the final stanza to hold Russia off the board.