CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. -- Captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) netted the game-winner and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) stopped 14 shots as the U.S. National Sled Hockey team topped Canada, 3-2, here today to win its fourth consecutive World Sled Hockey Challenge Title.
"This was a great team effort that really gets our season started on the right path," said Guy Gosselin, head coach of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "Everyone contributed and really came together for a great tournament win. As a staff, we're excited with the performance as we continue evaluating our roster for the upcoming Paralympics."
Team USA (5-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) finishes the tournament undefeated while outscoring its opponents, 31-5. The U.S. has now won the World Sled Hockey Challenge a tournament record six times, having also earned titles in 2016 (Dec.), 2016 (Jan.), 2015, 2012 and 2009.
Both teams traded chances early in the first period before Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) opened the scoring with 5:52 to play in the period. The play started when Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) took a pass from Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) and sent Misiewicz a centering feed in the slot that he collected and tucked beneath the sled of Canada’s goaltender Dominique Larocque for the game's opening goal.
The U.S. used back-to-back breakaway goals in the first five minutes of the middle frame to push its lead to 3-0. Roybal connected first by picking up a pass from Misiewicz and speeding past a Canadian defender before firing a shot past Larocque low blocker-side 2:55 into the stanza.
Two minutes later, Pauls scored his first goal of the tournament by beating a Canadian defender to a loose puck for a breakaway attempt he tucked into the bottom corner of the net. Luke McDermott (Westerlo, N.Y.) registered an assist on the goal.
Canada answered with 8:02 left in the period when Tyler McGregor’s sent a high shot from the slot over the glove of Cash.
Liam Hickey tallied a power-play goal 5:01 into the final period for Canada to make the score 3-2, but Team USA killed off a penalty in the closing minutes as it held on for the victory.
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team returns to action in January, when it travels to Italy for the 2018 Para Ice Hockey International Tournament in Turin, Italy from Jan. 22-27, 2018.
NOTES: Brody Roybal was named U.S. Player of the Game ... For the complete box score, click here ... Deloitte, Labatt USA and Toyota are proud sponsors of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Guy Gosselin (Grafton, Wis.), a two-time U.S. Olympian (1988, 1992) and USA Hockey's regional manager of the American Development Model, is in his first season as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Joining Gosselin behind the bench is assistant coach David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.) while additional U.S. staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich.) ... The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is expected to be announced on Jan. 1, 2018.