“(Pauls) really opens up the ice. He’s probably one of the fastest players in the world, knows the game real well and we have really good chemistry.”
He may only be 16, but Declan Farmer is making a serious case to be on the USA’s ice sledge hockey team come the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in March.
Farmer, along with linemate Josh Pauls, combined for five points on Monday night (2 December) at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Toronto, Canada, defeating South Korea, 5-0.
Farmer scored twice while Pauls had a goal and two assists for the USA’s second win of the tournament.
They now are tied for first place in the standings with Canada with six points.
“Declan just continues to amaze us, the whole staff,” said American head coach Jeff Sauer.
“I mean, he does things that are very clever for a very young player and he’s very skilled, but he’s a smart skilled player it’s not just skill that does things. He does the little things that make him that much better.”
Pauls echoed the comments from his coach by crediting his young teammate’s play.
“Declan was just wonderful to play with. You just give him the puck, let him work his magic and you get the assist. It’s real easy,” said Pauls.
The humble Farmer, who earned player of the game honours, was quick to credit his teammates for his success.
“(Pauls) really opens up the ice,” Farmer said. “He’s probably one of the fastest players in the world, knows the game real well and we have really good chemistry.”
Farmer broke open the game’s scoring just 3:48 in the contest, and later in the first period Pauls scored off an assist from Taylor Chace to put the USA up 2-0 early on.
Greg Shaw pushed the USA’s lead to 3-0 five minutes into the second period, and then Josh Sweeney and Farmer increased their lead to 5-0 in the final period.
The USA heavily outshot their opponents, finishing the game with 31 shots while South Korea only managed to muster five shots on American starter Jen Yung Lee.
Sang-Hyeon Park was named the player of the game for South Korea.
Earlier in the day, world champions Canada, led by veteran Billy Bridges, defeated Russia, 5-3.
Bridges had two goals and two assists in the victory.
Evgeny Petrov got the scoring started for Russia at 4:22 in the first, but it was all Canada for the rest of the period.
Adam Dixon scored on the power play for his second goal of the tournament to tie things up at 1-1.
Kevin Rempel and Tyler McGregor followed suit at the 12-minute mark, scoring goals 23 seconds a part to give Canada a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
After each team exchanged goals in the second period, it was Bridges who scored his second of the game just 46 seconds into the third period to give Canada a 5-2 advantage. Russia’s Konstantin Shikhov scored a few minutes later but it was not enough.
Benoit St-Amand got the win in goal for Canada while Mikhail Ivanov suffered the loss allowing, all five goals on 24 Canadian shots.
Canada’s power play was solid, going 2-for-5 on the day, while Russia failed to score on their only chance.
Bridges also added two assists to finish the morning with four points.
Russia drops to 0-2 in the tournament and will face South Korea at 10:00 (EST) on Wednesday (4 December).
The stage is now set for a rematch from the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool gold-medal game, at which Canada defeated the USA, 1-0.
It is a game that has been circled on both team’s calendars for quite some time.
With the off day first, Sauer said his team will be ready to play.
“Wednesday night you might see the two best teams in sledge hockey playing each other. We measure each other on those games. Our guys know the importance of it, I’m sure that they do as well.”
Fans can to watch the World Sledge Hockey Challenge online at www.FastHockey.com. The gold-medal game will be shown on TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada.
All four of these teams have already qualified for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
For further updates from the tournament and on the road to Sochi 2014, please follow IPC Ice Sledge Hockey on Facebook and Twitter.