page contents
skip navigation

Landeros Leads U.S. Win over Japan

12/03/2012, 10:15am MST
By Brian Smith

In a game that featured 10 U.S. National Sled Team members record a point in an 8-0 win over Japan, one goal stood out among them all. Late in the first period, defenseman Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) swung around the net of Japanese goaltender Mitsuru Nagase, lifted the puck up onto his blade and threw the puck, lacrosse style, into the top corner of the net, giving the U.S. a 3-0 lead at the time.

“I was coming around the net and they were giving me a little bit of the slot,” Landeros said postgame. “I was looking for someone to pass to and no one was open, so I kind of picked the puck up and put it in the top corner of the net.”

Although he hadn’t planned on unleashing his nifty offensive attack, Landeros admitted that he had always wanted to showcase his puck handling skills in the heat of game action.

“You know, I practice it every once in a while, but it felt good to put it in in a real game,” the big defenseman said. “I won’t do it too often, because I don’t like to showboat, but that was the only way the puck was going to go in at that point so I did what I had to do.”

The highlight goal was just the tip of the iceberg on a night when the U.S. controlled the tempo of the game in each zone. Goaltender Jen Yung Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) stopped each shot he faces to record a shut out to compliment the 10 point scorers for the U.S. Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.Y.) and Kevin McKee (Davenport, Iowa) each notched two goals while Alex Salamone (Buffalo, N.Y.) added two assists on the night.

“It says a lot about how we’ve tried to put the guys together,” said head coach Jeff Sauer. “We’ve got pretty good balance through all three lines, which is very important. We know we can score offensively from the point; we’ve got guys back there that are very mobile. The key for us is to get our forwards moving the puck and taking quicker shots and I thought tonight we did that.”

Despite the comfortable win over Japan, the U.S. has already begun looking ahead to their matchup with rival Canada on Wednesday night. The two teams will meet to determine who finishes the preliminary round of the World Sledge Challenge undefeated heading into the semifinals.

“It was important that we came out and played the full 45 minutes tonight,” said Pauls. “Canada has a lot of depth, and we have 17 guys that are capable of playing on the international level. We just need to not worry about making mistakes … and play like we can, and we’ll be fine.”

Related News

Most Popular Articles

Three ways to beat burnout

11/28/2016, 9:45pm MST
By Dave Pond

According to NHL metrics, the average hockey shift lasts somewhere between 45 and 55 seconds. There’s inherent beauty and fluidity to line changes, as skaters come on and off the ice, looking to recharge after going full throttle for their teams.

Meanwhile, your NHL officiating peers are giving their all, too – regularly logging 4-5 miles a game. Those totals are even greater at your level, where you and your colleagues officiate multiple games a day, several times per week, on a seemingly never-ending calendar.

And, although we want to perform our best every game, everyone has both good days and bad – players and officials alike. To learn more about keeping burnout at bay, we went to the experts: longtime amateur hockey scheduler Larry Carrington and former NHL official Mark Faucette.

“There is so much more to officiating than meets the eye,” said Faucette, a 17-year NHL veteran. “It may look easy from the stands, but to maintain total control of a game along with the stress, slumps, supervisors, travel, and fitness regimen takes a very special kind of person.”

Get in shape (and stay there)
We all think we’re in “pretty good” shape, but the reality is, officials must be top athletes and in great condition – even at the youngest levels.

“Conditioning is very important—the deeper into the season, the more important it is,” Carrington said. “Burnout happens physically, mentally, and emotionally. An official who is in good condition will experience less physical burnout, and that will in turn help with the emotional and mental burnout.”

Faucette stresses following a workout routine that maxes yourself at least every other day. Neither player or official should plan to use games as a vehicle toward better physical fitness.

“Where we used to go to camp to get into shape, officials today are on summer conditioning regimens and are tested as soon as they come to camp,” he said. “Taking care of your body is a total focus for the good official.

“The players are so much stronger and faster now, so it’s imperative the officials keep the same pace.”

Find balance
No, not balance on your skates (that’s a given). Rather, make sure to keep the big picture in mind, to work a manageable schedule that includes everything that’s important to you – family, friends, and time away from the rink.

Although it makes Carrington’s job as an assignor more difficult, he said it pays off in the long run.

“I encourage officials to take at least one weekend off to get away from hockey,” he said. “I certainly don't want to lose their services for a week, but the invigoration that it usually provides makes them a much more valuable asset over the course of the season.”

That’s huge in an industry where both mental and physical fatigue are commonplace.

“Every official runs into slumps, just as players do,” Faucette said. “You spend numerous hours alone as an official, and when things are not going good, where everything is negative, it can cause you duress.

“Positive thoughts and self-evaluations speed up recovery,” he continued. “So, instead of telling yourself, ‘I wonder what bad thing will happen tonight?’ say ‘I’m ready for anything – bring it on!’”

Have fun
It’s No. 3 here, but should be No. 1 on your to-do list.

“I realize the officials are all trying hard, and mistakes are part of any sport by any participant,” said Faucette, who currently serves as supervisor of officials for USA Hockey, the NAHL director of player safety and the SPHL director of officiating. “That being said, the joy I get out of seeing a young official start out at ground level and making the big time one day is immeasurable.”

For most of you reading this, the “big time” might not be the end goal (and that’s OK). But wherever you are, there’s experience you’ve gained, as well as that to come – which both point back to why you first got involved in this great sport.

As an assignor, Carrington tries to get out of the office as much as he can and intentionally varies the schedules of his officials to help keep things fresh. He also encourages his more senior officials to lend a hand to those who aren’t as long in the tooth.

“Going to the rink and helping officials help themselves get better can be very invigorating,” he said. “Even a very good, very experienced official will often find it fun and relaxing to mentor some new official at a lower-level game where the stress levels aren’t nearly as high.”

But no matter where you officiate, Carrington emphasizes keeping one thing in mind: the love of the sport and those playing it today.

“If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be out there.”

Gerry Letourneau Helps All Rhode Island Kids Get a Chance to Play

12/01/2016, 9:45am MST
By Mike Scandura - Special to USAHockey.com

Founder of Rhode Island Special Hockey works to give equal opportunities

Mudra a Leader in More than Just Scoring

12/01/2016, 10:30am MST
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Pikes Peak Miners forward keeps up pace even after switch to wing

Tag(s): World Sled Challenge