Team USA Sled Hockey Team calls “Czechmate” on CZE

GANGNEUNG, South Korea—- After Team USA used the power of ten goals to defeat Japan in their previous match, game number two of the preliminary round on Monday for the U.S. Sled Hockey Team was par for the course against a Czech Team, who on the day prior lost their second match to host country Korea 3-2 in a crushing overtime defeat.

As for the game itself, it was as Coach Guy Gosselin said, “Hard to take their foot off the pedal.” for the United States.

For instance, “Anything you can do, I can do better…” is a line from Broadway show Annie Get Your Gun, but it perfectly describes the race for points that Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal of USA Sled Hockey are having in Gangneung Hockey Centre.  

Starring the role “The Fastest Gunner in the West” is Assistant Captain Declan Farmer, a current Princeton University scholar,  and he is taking everyone is to school. He has already accumulated 4 Assists, 5 Goals and 9 points in the 2018 Paralympics so far.  

Also starring is “Wild” Brody Roybal. He is just another nightmare for statisticians everywhere. Roybal has now scored 5 goals this competition, and he has one assist and 6 points in just the past two games.

“I’ve known Brody for a long time, and we’re around the same age and the same skill level so we’re always pushing each other to get better.” Farmer expressed of Roybal.

“Me and Declan, we are super competitive, but we’re just out here having fun,” said Roybal.

Declan Farmer, who had 4 goals in this game tries to shake a Czech defender. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

It was Steve Cash in net for Team USA and was he ever money in the bank. He stopped 12 shots on goal and the goaltending for the red, white and blue is been pristine. No goals in either game for the goalkeepers so far.

After the match, Team USA Sled Hockey Head Coach Gosselin praised his goaltender saying,

“Steve is one of the best in the world and he showed up and he is focused and is in good shape and he was ready to go,” he added, “We all play this game to win and he comes to compete at a high level.”

There were no unexpected adjustments on Team USA’s first line with Roybal, Carron, Landeros, MIsiewicz, and McKee. Team USA won the opening faceoff, and in just over one minute into the match that Nikko Landeros passed to Brody Roybal who stuck it in the net behind Czech goalie Martian Kudela for the first score of the match. After two of the goals from Declan Farmer, the score after one period was 3-0 in favor of the stars and stripes.

Nikko Landeros, who scored a goal in the first period, slams head first into the wall. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

In the second period, it started fast and ferocious with both teams ready to pounce. But it was #75 Jiri Raul of the Czech Republic who picked up the penalty for interference and Team USA swarmed like a pack of wild dogs and took advantage with Farmer getting his hat trick with assists from Page and Wallace.  With 8:15 left in the second it was Jack Wallace getting his first of the game going top shelf on the goaltender. Farmer and Page brought the help.

Travis Dodson joined the scoring party increasing the score to 7- 0. Billy Hanning Jr. got his first assist on the goal.

Czech Head Coach Jiri Briza after match about the third period, “I’m just glad they called off the dogs and stopped scoring.”

With the win, Team USA earned 3 more points sending them automatically to the next round.

Team USA returns to the rink Tuesday to take on host nation South Korea at Noon Korean Time.

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