BRIDGEWATER, Nova Scotia — Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) and Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) each recorded two points and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) scored the game-winning goal in the third period as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Russia, 2-1, in the semifinals of the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge.
With the win, Team USA will compete in the championship game against the winner of the Canada vs. Korea semifinal. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (Jan. 23) at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre.
"A win's a win," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "From a coach's perspective, we struggled to find our style of play today. We're glad to be playing in the championship game on Saturday; that's what we came here for. So, we'll enjoy the win tonight and turn our attention towards the next game tomorrow."
The U.S. nearly opened the scoring five minutes into the game when Josh Sweeney’s (Portland, Ore.) chance by the left post was covered by Russia goaltender, Mikhail Ivanov. Off the ensuing faceoff, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) collected the puck above the right hashmark and fired a wrister that was deflected out of play.
Farmer gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 4:10 left in the period when he received a pass from McKee and tucked a wrist shot just under the crossbar. The play started when Roybal entered Russia’s zone along the left wall and dropped the puck back to McKee who skated behind the net before finding Farmer between the hashmarks.
Russia evened the score seven minutes into the middle stanza when Vadim Selyukin’s shot from the right circle trickled past Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.). Team USA nearly regained the lead just three minutes later when a partial breakaway by Pauls led to a scramble in front before Russia was able to clear the puck. Despite outshooting Russia, 16-8, through two periods, the U.S. entered the second intermission tied, 1-1.
Roybal scored the game-winning goal with 8:10 remaining in the game when he collected a pass from Farmer and fired a snap shot past Ivanov blocker-side. With assists on the play, Farmer and McKee set new U.S. records for points (10) and assists (7) in a single World Sled Hockey Challenge. Both of the previous records were set by Farmer in last year's tournament, when he tallied three goals, six assists and nine points in five games.
NOTES: Tyler Carron (Fort Collins, Colo.) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Russia, 20-9 … Team USA has reached the championship game of the World Sled Hockey Challenge for the fifth consecutive time (first: 2012, 2015; second: 2011 (Nov.), 2013) … Declan Farmer leads the tournament in goals (6) and points (10) while Kevin McKee ranks first in assists (7) … Follow @USAHockeyScores for in-game updates. Join the World Sled Hockey Challenge conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WSHC.