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Landeros Leads U.S. Win over Japan

12/03/2012, 10:15am EST
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.”

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Starting with the upcoming season, USA Hockey is launching a new online curriculum in our Officiating Education Program. In addition to the standard registration requirements, including application, open and closed book testing and attendance at a USA Hockey Officiating Seminar, every official must complete the online material prior to receiving their card and crest for 2014-15.

The online curriculum is designed to enhance educational experience with accurate and consistent officiating information. The online modules will be broken down into three categories. The first two requirements will include general and level-specific presentations. The third category will have elective courses from a variety of topics such as positioning, procedures, penalty criteria and the mental game. These electives will be level-specific and allow you to hone your officiating skills in areas you select.

The length of each presentation will vary depending on content and focus. The majority of the presentations will fall in the 5- to 10-minute range, followed by a short quiz reviewing the content. The entire online curriculum will take 3-5 hours to complete, depending on the level of the official. The in-person seminar each official will be required to attend will be abbreviated and designed to supplement the material presented in the online curriculum.

Instructions on accessing the online seminar will be sent to you upon receiving your USA Hockey application. The curriculum will be accessed through your USAHockey.com profile and can be completed at your leisure, meaning you can log out and log back in to pick up where you left off. Some presentations are designed to be viewed before attending the seminar as a means to improve the overall seminar experience. These will be highlighted for your consideration.

Officials will find this new system to be beneficial and it will make your overall USA Hockey experience a more valuable one.  Let’s get the season off to a great start!

Tag(s): World Sledge Challenge