USA’s Sled Hockey Team shows Japan No Mercy
“Chippy”, that’s one way to describe the number #2 ranked United States Sled Hockey team. That statement says more than you would think. The team has a chip on their shoulder after talking to them all week about losing in the World Championships to team Canada earlier this year and since then they have lost their number one ranking. They were mad. They were irate. They were on a mission to make a statement in their opening match against the Japanese team lead by Captain Sudo.
All week long the eyes were on the goal on who would start for Team USA. Would it be DADA St. St. Louis Blues’ own Steve Cash or Jen Lee, a standout from the University of Texas? In the end, after days of questioning it was Lee…nevertheless his day was slow at the office. After two periods, Japan had no shots on goal. In fact, it wasn’t until 12:00 left in the 3rd that Japan got their first shot on Lee, and combined for 2 SOG overall in the match.
“He’s been working hard,” said Coach Guy Gosselin, “We wanted to get him some action in there.”
It only took one minute and one second into the match for the USA to score. first by #88 Kevin McKee and he was assisted by Forward Nikko Landeros. #4 Brody Roybal entered the goal scored column himself with 10:26 left in the first and was assisted by #24 Joshua Misewicz. The score was quickly 2-0. #22 Noah Grove added yet another at 12:26 in the first assisted by #13 Declan Farmer and #3 Ralph DeQuebec. That’s the way the first period ended 3-0.
In the first period, Team Japan only had the puck in USA territory for under a minute. Believe it or not, the game went wide open from there. Picture in your mind, if you will, a nest of bees then there is Winnie the Pooh stuck in that nest searching for honey. The bees were the United States and Winnie the Pooh was the Japanese team. The United States were quicker, faster, more athletic, and just stinging the veteran Shinobu Fukushima, the 61-year-old goalie from the Nagano Thunderbirds team.
In the second period, the hits just kept coming. Nikko Landeros added on to the total with a power play goal, assisted by Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal. A about a minute later, Farmer added another goal, unassisted, making the score 5-0 with about 9:00 left in the 2nd Period.
Team USA Coach Guy Gosselin explained that line’s dominance in this match stating,
“I think you know they are prepared to play. They utilize their speed better and use their skills to move the puck together,” explained Gosselin.
Number 13 Luke McDermott scored his first goal off a pass from #20 Adam Page and Ralph DeQuebec at 8:20 in the second. Moments later, #23 Rico Roman joined the scoring party, assisted by Adam Page and Captain Josh Pauls. Even before theis reporter could look up, Brody Roybal added another coming from the help of Joshua Misiewicz..Just when thought the scoring was over, there was more Roybal picked up his third goal of the day (on four shots total in just seven minutes of ice time) assisted by Kevin McKee and Joshua Misiewicz.
“It was fun. It was a good game man, we had fun,” said Brody Roybal, “We got a lot of goals so you know we had fun.”
Finally, after allowing the hat trick, Team Japan took out their keeper and replaced him with Kazuya Mochizuki. But by that time the bleeding was too severe for the White and Red. The boys of Ol’ Glory were in charge 9-0 after two periods of play.
In the third, the USA made it an even 10 after a goal with 6:35 left in the match. It as #8 Jack Wallace with his first of the preliminary matches assisted by Declan Farmer and Josh Pauls.
“Every Game is a gold medal game for us,” Nikko Landeros told reporters after the game, continuing, “We’re just trying our hardest and we are trying to get to the gold medal.”
Team USA Sled Hockey continues their quest Monday March 12th at noon Korea time when they face The Czech Republic.