Written by Mike Doyle
Team USA was coming off a commanding win over the Italian Sled Hockey Team while South Korea had squeaked out a win over Russia in that team’s inaugural Paralympic debut. Team USA features speed, fore-checking and a hard hitting style while South Korea strengths include cycling, puck support and accurate passing. Attendance was over 5200 spectators; close t a full house for the 4:30 PM matchup.
As the first period got underway, Team USA put their shoulders into action so the Koreans were stuck in their own end of the rink. Every clearing attempt was met with a USA stop at the point and dump in behind the Korean net. With the game less than one minute in Team USA #19 Taylor Chase (Hampton Falls NH) capitalized on an infrequent South Korean mistake of trying to clear the puck up the middle of the defensive zone; Chase stopped the puck at the blue line and skated it in and buried the puck in the back of the net. A minute later the South Koreans put themselves in the penalty box for “too many men” on a botched line change. Team USA continued checking dominance, but South Korea was able to burn off the penalty by icing the puck. About 7 minutes in Korean reentered the box; this time for holding. Once the Koreans returned to five-on-five hockey Team USA #20 Adam Page (Lancaster NY) put his team a man-down for slashing. Adam sat and watched his teammates kill off his penalty. Having time to think spurred on Adam, and given the chance with just over three minutes left in period one he put one under the arm of Korean netminder #31 Man-Gyun Yu as he was going down.
Period two started much different than the first. Team South Korea came out with some big shoulders of their own and the battle intensified. Most of the period was uneventful statically until with just 31 seconds left USA netminder #34 Steve Cash (Overland, MO) stretched a pass up to #14 Danny McCoy (Cheswick PA) who in turn got it to #20 Adam Page (Lancaster NY) for the finish.
Third period action included USA minor penalties by #28 Paul Schaus (Buffalo NY) and #4 Brody Roybal (Northlake IL) for charging and roughing respectively. It was nice to see after a physical pounding game that athletes from both teams had smiles and kudos between the rival squads during the handshake ritual.