USA to Defend Their Gold Medal Against Russia

photo by Ken King USA defeats Canada and moves on to defend their gold medal against Russia
photo by Ken King
USA defeats Canada and moves on to defend their gold medal against Russia
by Eric Gissendanner

SOCHI —The United States sled hockey overcame its first major hurdle —soundly beating Canada, 3-0. The Americans now play in a not-so-surprising gold medal game, but against a surprising opponent: Russia. When the United States and Russia take to the ice Saturday at noon Eastern Time, both teams will be met by a thunderous hometown crowd.

America seeks its third gold medal in 12 years, while Russia has never medaled (this is Russia’s first time having a sled hockey team in the Paralympics). America’s average player age is 24.1 years-old, while Russia’s is 29.5 years-old. Both teams are 3-2 in the Paralympic tournament so far, and both teams shutout their semifinal opponent to reach the gold medal game.

Throw out all the numbers, though, and focus on the fact that it is the United States against Russia. We are past the Cold War and the Miracle on Ice is now 34 years ago. Regardless of what was, the hype now surrounds what is. Saturday is for the gold in the premiere event of the Winter Paralympics. The host nation battles a foe that seeks to defend its Vancouver dominance en route to the top podium spot.

Whether it is out of passion or curiosity toward the sport, watch Saturday’s game. Months of preparation build up to a final 45 minutes to determine which team and which country chose the right players, set the right lines and executed the right plays needed for the title as the world’s best.
Schedules for viewing the last events of the 2014 Winter Paralympics are as follows:
Saturday March 15, 2014
Ice Sled Hockey Gold Medal Game on NBC 1:00 PM – 3: PM Eastern (Taped) – USA v Russia
Cross Country Skiing on NBCSN at 3:30 AM – 5:30 AM Eastern (Live)
Wheelchair Curling Final on NBCSN at 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM Eastern (Taped)
Sunday March 16, 2014
Alpine Skiing (Giant Slalom) NBCSN 4:30A – 6:30A (Live)
Closing Ceremony NBCSN 3:30P – 5:30P (Taped)

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