LEDUC, Alberta – The U.S. National Sled Team advanced to the championship game of the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge with an 8-0 win over Korea today at the Leduc Recreation Centre. Dan McCoy (Cheswick, Pa.) had five points, Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) and Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) each scored twice, and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) recorded his second consecutive shutout in the victory.
“I thought the first two periods weren't our strongest of the tournament,” said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “Fortunately, we got things taken care of in the third and can now turn our attention to Saturday’s game.”
After a scoreless first period, Team USA opened the scoring on the power play 10:24 into the second stanza. Nikko Landeros (Chicago, Ill.) took a pass from Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) and found Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) in front of the net to give USA the 1-0 lead.
Team USA extended its lead early in the final frame with three goals over a span of two minutes. Landeros' third goal of the tournament came when he collected the puck behind Korea's net, flipped it onto his stick, and finished a wraparound attempt. McCoy scored 24 seconds later from the hash marks before Farmer tucked one under the bar to make it 4-0.
With the United States on the two-man advantage, newcomer Misiewicz made it 5-0 with his first goal as a member of Team USA. A minute later he grabbed his second goal of the game to extend USA’s lead to 6-0. Page connected twice within 20 seconds in the final minute of play to seal the victory.
Team USA will play in the championship game on Saturday (Feb. 7) versus the winner of tonight's semifinal game between Canada and Russia. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on FASTHockey.com.
NOTES: Josh Misiewicz was named U.S. Player of the Game … Nikko Landeros, Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal have points in all four games … Team USA outshot Korea, 38-4 … For full game statistics, click here … For complete Team USA coverage, click here … Follow @USAHockeyScores for in-game updates. Join the World Sled Hockey Challenge conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WSHC.
It’s an off-season that continues to be full of changes, reactionary and planned, as all of us in the USA Hockey Officiating Department forge forward in the new normal. Our efforts are consistently focused on ensuring safety, fun and development for players, coaches and officials.
One issue that continues to arise is the abuse of officials and the effects it has on retention. To counter and help improve the environment, USA Hockey’s rules sub-committee has been focused and committed to solutions.
This sub-committee was established to define and recommend programs to confront this problem. As a result of this, a first step was taken at the recent Annual Congress to amend the Zero Tolerance Policy. Several proposals were made and adopted by the Board of Directors to constructively confront this problem.
These changes strongly recommend things like game officials introducing themselves to the coach during warm-ups in order to start the communication process and set some guidelines for in-game communication.
The parents/spectators section was amended to clearly state the behavioral expectations of this group. Another strong recommendation added to this section was to establish a parent/spectator monitor by each local youth hockey team for all games. Ideally, this monitor will address and de-escalate parent/spectator behavior before it impacts the game and the officials have to stop play.
Also added, a reminder to administrators that they are responsible for taking any appropriate disciplinary action towards parents/spectators that are removed from a game as a result of a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.
Navigating New Norms
As we all still grapple with the effects of the pandemic, the Officiating Program has been working to develop effective ways to fulfill our educational responsibilities when it comes to the annual registration process. To that end, the only process that provides educational value and a safe environment is with virtual seminars. A format and curriculum was developed and approved by the District RIC’s. This was distributed to all of the District RIC’s for implementation as they see fit. Due to the many different and ever-changing restrictions around the country, if the situation arises where in-person seminars can be held then the District RIC can also schedule them as needed. The Virtual Seminar Program is the best solution for this season. As situations change, the Officials Section will revisit this program for all future seasons.
Every Tuesday, the Officiating Education Program will present an hour-long webinar on various topics of interest and importance to not only USA Hockey’s officials but the entire membership. These panel discussions will cover topics such as abuse and zero tolerance, communication, player safety, as well as items such as game management and positioning within the three recognized USA Hockey Officiating systems. Panelists will include some of the top officials in the country and other experts from the hockey world whose goal will be to inform, entertain and encourage the USA Hockey community to learn more about officiating.
Getting officials from their first year to their third season is a key focus for the Officiating Education Program. Helping officials understand the basics of the craft and giving them a supportive resource is what the Mentor Project is all about. USA Hockey is helping local Officials Associations put together the framework where a mentor gets matched with a new official and works with them not only in their first month or second, but is a constant resource for the new official throughout their first couple of seasons. Learning about how to read the rule book, navigate the challenges of getting assignments and become a proficient official are all goals of the mentor project.
Again, we hope everyone is safe and sane as we prepare for a different landscape of hockey – but we are excited to welcome it, and you, back to the game.
See you at the rink!