Top 10 storylines for Buffalo 2015 gold-medal game

Check out the main talking points of the much-hyped Canada-USA matchup at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool. 02 May 2015 By Stuart Lieberman | For the IPC

The game will be played at 2:30pm (ET) on Sunday (3 May) at the HARBORCENTER in Buffalo, New York in the USA.

Defending world champions Canada will take on reigning world champions USA in the gold-medal game at the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool. The game will be played at 2:30pm (ET) on Sunday (3 May) at the HARBORCENTER in Buffalo, New York in the USA.

Here’s a look at the top 10 storylines to watch:

1. Between them, Canada and the USA have won the last four World Championships in ice sledge hockey. Canada, who won gold in 2000, 2008 and 2013, will be playing for their record fourth world title. The USA, who won gold in 2009 and 2012, will try to win their third and tie Canada’s current best mark. The host nation will also try to take hold of the Paralympic and world titles at the same time again after doing so five years ago when they won the 2009 World Championships and Vancouver 2010 Paralympics.

2. At the last World Championships, which took place in 2013 in Goyang, South Korea, now-retired Graeme Murray scored the lone goal to lead Canada to a 1-0 victory over the USA. The Canadians finished those Championships with an undefeated 5-0 record, outscoring their opponents 20-3, as Greg Westlake was named Best Forward after racking up five goals and three assists in the tournament.

3. The tournament’s top two goaltenders – Canada’s Corbin Watson and the USA’s Steve Cash – will be going head-to-head in the final. In 165 minutes on the ice, Watson, who models his game after NHL great Martin Brodeur, has accumulated a 0.55 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. Cash, a 2010 ESPY Award winner, has played 120 minutes with a 0.38 goals against average and .960 save percentage.

4. Canadian forward Billy Bridges leads all scorers in Buffalo with 13 points and nine goals, having scored at least two goals in each of his four games. The husband of two-time Olympic champion Sami Jo Small has been on Canada’s national team since 1998, when he joined the team as a 14-year-old. Look for the Summerside native to star in both the final game in Buffalo and on the road to PyeongChang 2018.

5. Each time Buffalo native Adam Page scores a goal or contributes and assist for the USA, the host nation’s crowd at the HARBORCENTER has gone wild. Page, who has been playing the sport since he was six years old, leads the USA with 10 points in the tournament. Three of his points came in the team’s 6-0 semi-final victory over Norway.

6. The USA’s dynamic teenage duo of Brody Robyal, 16, and Declan Farmer, 17, have shown sledge hockey fans in Buffalo that the future of the sport is bright. Together, the pair has combined for 13 points and 22 shots on goal and has played a major role in each of the USA’s victories. Roybal, who plays for the Chicago Blackhawks club team, and Farmer, who plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning club team, have been a hit with NBC Sports and other media outlets in Buffalo.

7. The gold-medal game will be broadcast live on television in the USA on NBC Sports Network and streamed live online in Canada by CBC Sports, in addition to being shown in four other countries. Italy’s RAI Sport, Russia’s KHL TV, Japan’s SKY PerfecTV and Germany’s will all showcase the final as well.

8. Several spectators and viewers have been praising the work of two defencemen at the Championships – Canada’s Adam Dixon and the USA’s Josh Pauls. Two-time world champion Dixon, who has appeared in a five-part documentary on children surviving cancer, has been talked about for his gritty work in front of the net. Pauls, famous for his pre-game superstitions, has drawn attention to himself for his wicked speed on the ice. Expect both to play to their respective strengths in the final.

9. Four former US Marines – Josh Sweeney, Josh Misiewicz, Paul Schaus and Luke McDermott – are all bilateral leg amputees, each having been severely injured by land minds while serving in Afghanistan. All of these USA players aside from McDermott played able-bodied hockey before joining the marines, and together, they have helped band their team together like brothers.

10. Ken Babey is taking Canada’s sledge hockey team to the world title game in his first season as the team’s head coach. Previously, he spent 27 years as the head coach of the men’s hockey team at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) from 1987-2014, finishing his career with 534 regular season and playoff wins. He has changed the culture within Canada’s team this season, and the result of this game may tell us if it has paid off.

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