The gold medal is on the line as the United States and Russia meet for the second time in five days during the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Russia topped Team USA, 2-1, in the preliminary round on March 11. The Russians scored once in the first and second periods, while Adam Page scored for the U.S. in the third period. Team USA outshot Russia, 23-10.
Though the U.S. and Russia had never met in the Paralympics prior to this year, the countries matched up four times in the 14 months leading up to the Games. In January 2013, Team USA blanked Russia, 4-0, at the USA Hockey Sled Cup. In the semifinals of the 2013 International Paralympic Committee World Championship, the U.S. earned a 2-1 victory. Team USA won by margins of 2-1 and 4-1 at last December’s World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
NBC will broadcast today’s game live at noon ET. A live web stream is available at TeamUSA.org.
Head Coach Jeff Sauer
On facing Russia in the final ... "We kind of got there a different way but I think the guys will be very anxious to play against Russia again. They played very well against us, their goaltender played extremely well. Hopefully things work our way a little bit different in relation to our shots on goal. Whether it is the big guys playing, or our guys playing, Russia-USA is going to be an exciting game. It's great for the sport."
Defenseman Nikko Landeros
On playing against Russia in the gold medal game ... "Yeah, we want to play them. It's going to be a great game, big crowd. This is the game they want to be in and it is the game we want to play as well. We want to play the way we play, not so much revenge. I think we played a great game then, you know it just turned out that it didn't happen the way we wanted to.''
On the strengths of the Russians ... "They've got a couple of good shooters, they've got a great breakout, they've got older guys, they can see the ice well and their biggest strength is getting the puck out."
On the feeling to defend the gold medal ... "It will be a great feeling to win another gold medal. We know we are defending the gold and it's a big honor. We just want to come out and put pressure on just like we did. I think it will be all right."
Goaltender Steve Cash
On the special feeling to have USA and Russia in the final ... "I'm sure everybody at home is thinking about that miracle (USA's win against Russia at the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games) but in our heads it's more about going out there and executing. It's going to be a big game, it's going to be tough, and we're not as focused on the concept of that game as we are on getting a gold medal."