GANGNEUNG, South Korea —- The volume was 106.8 Db. The house shook. This was not a metaphor… the house literally shook. It was standing room only. There were more butts than seats.. “Loud” or “deafening” weren’t the words to use in Gangneung Hockey Centre on Tuesday. Aurally, for ear canals around the rink it was a bloody mess. Korea brought the weight of nation to face off against the stars and stripes, the Men from the American Sled Hockey Team were not phased by the uproar of the Korean nation in the least.
“The crowd! I mean it was just so loud!” said American Forward Rico Roman, “It was just so loud and the energy was all there..”
As for the game, the U.S. Sled Hockey Team members knew things would be a little different today.
“We knew it would be a harder match” said U.S. Coach Guy Gosselin,”We knew the Koreans would give us all they had.”
Korea took a power play with just over ten minutes left in the first and USA’s Brody Roybal made the Koreans pay big time. His seventh goal of the tournament came off passes from Nikko Landeros and Declan Farmer. The second goal came soon after, at 6:40 from Farmer who picked up right where he left off on Monday vs. the Czechs. Jack Wallace and Ralph DeQuebec picked up the assists and the goal during this Paralympics. It was the 11th point for Framer, so far in 3 games (He has 6 goals and 5 assists).
“You know everyone likes scoring goals and stuff,” quipped Farmer, “It’s all about getting those wins and moving onto the next round, so we’re really looking forward to playing Italy.”
In their first 4 attempts, Team USA went 50% on goals. Jong Kyung Lee picked up a penalty for interference which sent the Americans on the power play once again. And once again the Americans went rabid. A goal for #24 Josh Misiewicz, his first for the PyeongChang Paralympics, fed from Nikko Landeros and Captain Josh Pauls. The score was 3-0 already with 6 minutes and change left in the first. One minute later it was 4-0. Misiwewicz picked up his second on the day with the help of Kevin Mckee and Brody Roybal. Misiewicz feels like a weight has been lifted off of him after scoring his first two of the season:
“I mean it felt good, because i had a couple chances the two games before and I didn’t capitalize on it, so it finally felt good to bury the puck,” said Misiewicz after the win.
Rico Roman picked up a Teeing Penalty for the United States at 12:13, but even down a man could not stop Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal. Farmer (7,8) scored shorthanded and connected twice to pick up a hat trick within a minute of each other and Brody Roybal got the assists. That was the end of goalkeeper Man Gyun Yu’s day for Korea. The goalie was replaced by his teammate Jae Woong Lee. At the end of the first, there was only one South Korean shot on goal compared to the U.S. who went 6 of 11. 6-0 USA.
The second period started with an early penalty on Rico Roman for holding. Then, with 7:10 left in the period, a 2:00 minute holding minor on South Korea’s Ju Seung Lee sent the great white sharks of the United States Team into a feeding frenzy. There was blood not just coming from the ears as fans from the sound of the arena, there was blood in the water. Korea’s Jung Kyong Lee, as the power play ended, received a monster hit from Ralph DeQuebec of the United States and DeQuebec was sent to the box for roughing. With 25 seconds left in DeQuebec’s penalty minutes, there was a teeing penalty called on Sueng Hwan Jung. The clubs were at 4-on-4 and it was getting ugly. But even with all the ugliness, the Koreans did it. They stopped the United States from scoring in the second period. There was still one problem: The Koreans didn’t score either and there was still a 6-0 difference in score. After two full periods the United States had 18 shots on goal and the South Korean sled hockey team just had two..
The U.S. drought wouldn’t last. At 33:36 in the game, Travis Dodson resumed the goal making activities by receiving the puck from Rico Roman and Tyler Carron to make the score 7-0 in favor of the United States. Korea’s Young Sung Lee received a 2 minute roughing penalty and was sent to the box along with Kwan Hyouk Choi also for the same infraction. It was 3 on 5 in favor of the United States. In the end, Brody Roybal added one more for the United States, his second of the game. The Final Score was 8-0.
The United States Sled Hockey team plays Italy in the Semi-finals, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Noon Korean Time.